Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dahomey Diaspora

Rara La Fraicheur De L'anglade - M Pap Mache A Te Anye (from Vodou Music of Haiti 1997)

Rara is heavily rooted in the spiritual music of a 10,000+ year old religion known as Vodou, which made it's way to Haiti during the slave trade from places like the former Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin). I think most outsiders would immediately think of zombies, witchcraft, and old National Geographic images of Africans conducting heathen rituals if the word "voodoo" was brought up, but many religions throughout the world share it's original roots. Just look at New Orleans, where above ground it's commercialized and influenced a ton of music (hello Dr. John), and below ground where it's still practiced in secrecy. A lot of influences from Christianity have mixed in, due to former slaves covering up their "pagan" rituals from their oppressors. For those not familiar with Vodou Music of Haiti: Angels in the Mirror, it's a great compilation of spirituals ranging from gorgeous vocal tracks to this one which is straight up Rara. You can't hide from those horns, and while we're on the subject I think anyone who isn't scared of them should hear The La Drivers Union Por Por Group CD for an interesting phenomenon that most likely isn't a coincidence.

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