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!
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
Ouidah, Vodoun Jan. 10th 2008