We’re very pleased to announce that Afropop Worldwide producer Morgan Greenstreet will be attending the first edition of the Voodoo To Go Festival taking place in Utrecht, Netherlands, Sept. 18-20. What does a quiet Dutch town know about voodoo? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Organized by Leopold Ekua Messan, a Togolese entrepreneur and supporter of the arts based in the Netherlands, the Voodoo To Go Festival unites artists from the Beninese and Togolese diaspora in Europe with artists from the New World including Haiti, Suriname and Cuba. As the name implies, the common thread for these artists are the traditional African religious practices known divergently as vodun/vaudou/voodoo/santería, etc. There will be films, symposiums and visual art on this theme as well, but, as usual, we will be focused on the music!
Afropop producer Morgan Greenstreet will report live from the festival, but also produce an Afropop Worldwide radio show focusing on the voodoo/vodun diaspora in Europe, featuring performances and interviews from the Voodoo To Go Festival as well as independent research in Netherlands and Belgium. This program will build on the two Afropop shows Morgan has produced about traditional and popular music in Benin: Benin: Transforming Traditions and Benin Roots Alive.
The lineup for Voodoo To Go is excellent! The first night, Sept. 18, features artists billed as the “origins of vodun,” but actually part of a diasporic African cultural expression: Vaudou Game, an excellent retro Afro-funk group based in Lyon, France. Fronted by Peter Solo, an energetic singer and guitarist from Togo, Vaudou Game effectively builds on the sound of old-school Beninese groups like Orchestre Poly-Ritmo de Cotonou, and El Rego, whose records have recently found a revival among world-music lovers and DJs thanks to reissues and compilations. Vaudou Game is an excellent live band as you can see in this video:
The night is rounded out with traditional drums and dancing from Djogbé (Benin) and an Afrobeat DJ set by Jungle By Night.
The next night, Sept.19, is stacked! Erol Josué is an extremely dynamic artist from Haiti who makes vodou central to his music and dance, and central to his life. Check out this PRI piece about him. Dray-ston is a Surinamese band based in the Netherlands that plays a percussion-rich folk music called kawina. We can’t wait to hear it!
Closing out the night is none other than DJ Hugo Mendez, of Sofrito, who has been involved in many special reissues that we’ve reviewed at Afropop. We’re looking forward to meeting him.
On the final night, Sept. 20, we’ll reconnect with Omar Sosa, a Cuban jazz pianist from Camaguey, based in the U.S. And, we’ll party with the world-famous Fra Fra Sound, a Surinamese jazz band based in the Netherlands, going strong for 35 years.
You can get tickets to Voodoo To Go Festival here. Hope to see you there!