Friday, 31 October 2008

Various - Voodoo Ceremony In Haiti

Voodoo Ceremony In Haiti


48.6 MB
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Olympic OL-6113

OK, so actual zombification rites aren't included in these field recordings but I figure the shambling results of certain vodoun practices are the closest we've come to academic verification (and
real-life examples) of one of the mainstays of the movie monster pantheon. Close enough for a music blog trying to work a Hallowe'en theme, anyway!

These particular rites were recorded in Haiti and released by Olympic Records Corporation. Not to be confused wih Joe Fletcher's Olympic Records from the 20s, the latter-day Olympic was a small independent label specialised in licensing public domain and ethnomusicological material. You've probably never heard of the company or its owner, Joseph Abend, for the same reason their history is most notable: losing a copyright suit brought by the estate of Scott Joplin to the tune of $200K in 1978. There's little other info available on Abend and ORC but around 1977 their catalogue dried up so I figure it's a safe bet to assume this mis-step (and what sounds like mediocre legal representation) bankrupted the label.

The spooky sounds and disembodied voices were captured by Maurice Bitter, who made many ethnomusicological field recordings for multiple record labels. He's also a prolific author in the subject of historical anthropology, often writing about the music and dance traditions of the societies he studies and he provides some good liner notes here as well.

1 Voodoo Drums
2 Nibo Rhythms (1:19)
3 Prayer To Shango
4 Petro Rhythms
5 Nago Rhythms
6 Invocation To Papa Legba
7 Dahomey Rhythms "The Paul'L" / Maize Rhythm / Diouba Rhythm "Cousin Zaca"

Let Soundological do the voodoo for you HERE or HERE.


ish said...

Thanks Cheeba!

I have a weakness for this stuff. I've been to several Vodun (voodoo) ceremonies here in NYC and they've all been really amazing affairs. They start about Midnight and don't end until the morning. Intense, beautiful, chaotic, spiritual.


cheeba said...

Sounds like they were ruly ecstatic experiences, ish! I'd love to attend some myself but the Haitian community is a bit harder to access by white anglo males here in Montreal. However, it's also not something I discuss with my Haitian friends - we usually stick to politics and music.

Have you been to any Santeria masses? I hear there is quite a lot of practitioners in NYC...

ish said...

I have lost touch with my Haitian friend so unfortunately I haven't been invited to any in a while. There is a huge Haitian community here.

As for Santeria, well that is a much longer story. I am not very active any more but I am actually an initiated Santeria priest (12 years), omo Obatala. Santeria tambores (bembes) are quite an experience also. They're shorter than Vodun ceremonies and usually are daytime affairs. The spiritual masses are probably my favorite though the ones I've been to or organized are too small to have musicians.

DonNewcomb said...

Thank you so much for this, and the other related post. I have this record, but I've worn it down to the point where there are barely grooves left. Vodun has always been of strong interest to me. Every time I would listen to Public Enemy, I'd wonder if Flavor Flav was channeling Ghede.

cheeba said...

Ish, that definitely provides a deeper insight into the titling of your blog! I've always been interested in the Yoruban tradition and its offshoots but know very little about Santeria compared to some of the others. Maybe someday I'll have a few questions for you!

ish said...

Anytime, Cheeba.

cheeba said...

My pleasure, Don! I have replaced so much worn-out vinyl thanks to other blogs I know what it's like to find an old fave again.