Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vodoun 2008 -MP3-

February 5th 2008

Voodoo originates from Benin and neighboring Togo.
The correct french spelling would be "Vodoun".
Why is this blog called "Voodoo Funk" and not "Vodoun Funk"?
Since the language of Fon was never meant to be written in French nor in English, "Voodoo" would be just as right or wrong as "Vodoun".
"Vodoun Funk" would also cause serious pronunciation problems with the English speaking majority of visitors to this blog.
I'm sure that my French friends will forgive me this willful ignorance.

What follows here is a number of photos from our stay around coastal Benin, the traditional stronghold of Voodoo culture during the week surrounding the big annual Vodoun celebration on January 10th.

I put together a little soundtrack to view these images.
This is traditional music from Benin which is all deeply rooted in Voodoo.
Some of the bands like Poly Rythmo, Picoby Band, Super Star de Ouidah may use non-traditional instruments on these recordings, however this remains folklore music and further illustrates how much western Pop music owes to African culture.

The pictures will take you on a little journey:

First stop is Abomey, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey where Mr. Babah performed a ritual for us to help us find many, many records...

A few days later, we took a fishing boat over the border into Togo in order to get to the village of a particularly powerful Voodoo priest who I wanted to ask for the support of a close associate.

Then came January the 10th.
The main festivities this year were held at Porto Novo.
We decided to go to the "Point De Non-Retour" at Ouidah instead, where local Voodoo ministers were holding speeches (it really is some sort of parallel government) and dances were held. We hung out for a bit but didn't really get into the mood, probably due to the presence of grim-looking bouncers who wanted to make us buy over-priced ID cards in order to be able to take pictures.
Luckily, we were with local friends who introduced us to Vodoun priest Dossou Gbeto who invited us to check out the celebrations in his village just outside of Ouidah. So off we took and things got pretty wild from there on... I don't want to tell too much, just go ahead and enjoy the pictures.

Click on the image below for the soundtrack!

00:00 Poly Rythmo -dan dan n'wamon
06:14 El Rego -e ma non tinme
11:05 Super Star de Ouidah -gogofiogo
13:41 Honore Avolonto -setche weda
19:03 Billedey Guissey -papa zibote
24:21 Picoby Band -do ai towe te
29:40 Ezim Gangnon -memeton hede hede
34:56 Agbehounkpan -hohoton vo
38:44 Soclub Toba Hanye Sezonmon -n'na ho so bo ha
44:55 Leonaerd Tamegnon -do koun on se nou
49:15 Hoonon Houlovo -lenoude we un an

Click on images to enlarge:

Mr. Babah's temple in Abomey

Crossing into Togo to ask the ancestors for help

Ouidah, Vodoun Jan. 10th 2008

All pictures courtesy of Big Evil and the Ivory Man.


porn store guy said...


What can you say?


I really really dig reading your blog, and posts like this just blow me away.

And then you add a soundtrack as well...

hats off.

Cyril said...

Fantastic photo reportage ! Thanks for sharing !

Joe said...

Thanks for this, Frank. Love the shot of the cigarette-smoking idol especially. Great to hear some more Picoby Band, too!

loajo said...

I can't even imagine what these vodou rituals may have been like. Do you ever think to make live recordings of events like this?

The photos are great. Praises to your guardian spritis!

MrC said...

wow .. some of these images are totally amazing (& real creepy!)

...another journey through the wonderful world of africa by words, images, & sounds ... FANTASTIC FRANK is what you should be referred to as, or maybe FUNKTASTIC FRANK ;)

MrC ;)

nickiplum said...

Simply incredible. Can't believe my wee apartment and these faces of Africa are part of the same world...thanks so much for such a remarkable site.

Anonymous said...

just came across and will be coming back. i'am in awe. keep well

chosen said...

FANTASTIC pictures, and this music you've graciously posted on this blog is a incredible.


ceverett said...

Sad to day the link to the mix does not work anymore. Any chance of reupping that?

Louise said...

Is it my slow connection here in Senegal, or does the link still not work? If the latter, PLEASE repair it!!

Great blog.

Frank said...

Give it another try, I checked the link and from my end everything seems to be working just fine...