Nèg Ginen is a song composed by Jean Claude Dorvil on a traditional Nago rhythm (from Benin). Nèg in Haitian creole means “the dude“, “the guy“. It is about pride of being Haitians with solid African roots. As a matter of fact, when we mention Ginen, we talk about Africa. Like the majority of Chouk Bwa’s songs, this one is full of references mentioning Haitian voodoo rituals and spiritual /igures. For instance, Simbi Ganga is a lwa (voodoo spirit) from the Lakou Soukri Danach (voodoo temple) that lives in the water. Wild and brutal when he is chained up, he faithfully represents the Iwa Kongos, notorious for being real party-starters! Kebyesou is an Iwa who lives in the Lakou Souvnans (another temple). He is a royal /igure, like the Dahomey Iwas in general. The voodoo families are, so to speak, all present in this project!
After a /irst European performance in 2015 at Roskilde Festival leading to many other performances all around Europe, including WOMEX and WOMAD, Haitian traditionnal vodou band Chouk Bwa met the Brussels based duo The Ångströmers in 2016. Their new project combines a renewed dub sensitivity and Haitian rhythm science and spirituality. The ensemble has performed in Haiti and in European festivals including Trans Musicales de Rennes before releasing their /irst album Vodou Alé via Bongo Joe in 2020.
Modular synths and other vintage electronic instruments bring another dimension to Chouk Bwa’s music, although obviously it is always the band’s groove and /luent tempo that leads the energy of the ensemble: no laptops, no drum machines. There are certain freedoms that cannot be coerced. Even more, the electronic instruments are wired directly to the drums that feed them with impacts and caresses. All the Vodou families are there with their many rhythms and songs. Radical Vodou roots for urban audiences.