Vodou Alé

11/09/2020Haitian Roots Band Chouk Bwa Teams Up With Belgian Duo The Ångströmers On Bewitching Debut Full-Length

Hard-hitting Afro-Caribbean polyrhythms and call-and-response chants meet bass-heavy, dubbed out electronics as traditional Haitian vodou combo Chouk Bwa teams up with Belgian producer duo The Ångströmers on their bewitching debut full-length "Vodou Alé": "The traditional and contemporary collide on this nine-track merger of distinct Haitian mizik rasin (roots music) and rumbling electronic production, forging a thrilling and hypnotic dialogue between minimalist sound design and Afro-Haitian drum talk." 

Released in May on Bongo Joe, this truly unique collaboration is something we are still trying to wrap our heads around as the record's unrelenting beats bear down on us. Chouk Bwa, led by percussion, vocals and dance, manifest the "deep African heritage of Haiti, torn from Africa and secretly re-planted in new land." Their music speaks for Haiti, "a nation that has seen the hardest of times and maintains a relentless spirit and strength through its culture."

An effect now amplified to mesmerising effect by the modular synths and vintage electronics of Brussels-based duo The Ångströmers, who add a whole other dimension to the bands voodoo grooves without jeopardising their natural fluidity. In fact, "the electronic instruments are wired directly to the drums that feed them with impacts and caresses," resulting in a potent, deeply hypnotic and spirited aesthetic that was heretofore unheard of and that, quite simply, blew our minds.

You can revisit Chouk Bwa & The Ångströmers' live performance from earlier this year on Seattle's KEXP below and stream/buy "Vodou Alé" in full over on Bandcamp.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom