Afropop Classic June 9, 2016
Voodoo To Go Festival
Producer Morgan Greenstreet follows the trail of West African Vaudou spiritual music to a very unlikely place—Utrecht, Netherlands—for the first edition of the Voodoo To Go Festival. Pioneered by Togolese entrepreneur Leopold Ekué Messan, the three-day festival set out to demystify Vaudou/Vodun/Voodoo spiritual practices by featuring music and dance from Togo, Benin, Haiti, Cuba and Suriname and bringing people together for films, food and a panel discussion about “Good and Evil in Voodoo.” From the opening ceremony to the climactic final moments of the festival, the music at Voodoo To Go was filled with the spirit: Trance-inducing traditional music from Togolese/Beninois diaspora group Djogbé; heavy, retro Vaudou funk from Togolese musician Peter Solo and Vaudou Game, based in Lyon, France; Surinamese kawina music from Rotterdam-based dance band Dray-ston; Late-night Haitian Vaudou-jazz from Erol Josué; and, finally an intense collaboration between Cuban jazz maestro Omar Sosa and Togolese musician and dancer Ayaovi Kokoussé. Alongside the excellent music, we hear from various participants in the festival discussing what Voodoo means to them: a Winti priestess; fascinated Dutch music fans; and, of course, the musicians who make music inspired by the spirit.