This week’s edition of “Best of The Beat” is occasioned by the upcoming Frisner Augustin Memorial Drum Concert to be held on June 16 at the New School in New York. More information is available on Afropop.org here.
Augustin was a teacher and master of Haitian ritual drumming, and a cornerstone of Haitian community and culture in New York, until his passing in 2012. Each year following, his Makandal Troupe has honored his memory with a presentation of traditional music played by New York-based Haitian ensembles.
In 1991, The Beat’s “Haitian Fascination” column, held down for many years by the esteemed ethnomusicologist and professor, Gage Averill, invited Lois Wilcken, a student of his and also the manager of the Troupe Makandal led by Frisner Augustin, to give us an eyewitness account of a traditional vodou initiation ceremony held in Brooklyn, and a description of the music she experienced that night.
Lois went on to publish a book, The Drums of Vodou, also featuring Frisner Augustin, in 1992, covering the social and historical context of vodou, the instruments, rhythms, songs and dances.
READ OR DOWNLOAD PDF: Beat10#5Vodou
Listen to Afropop Worldwide’s program Music and the Story of Haiti: From Vodou to Compas to Racine to Rara and Beyond