Chouk Bwa Libète
From the countryside of the New World’s first free black republic, Chouk Bwa Libète plays mizik rasin, Haitian creole for “roots music.” The roots of this music reach across the ocean to Africa, and the vodou ritual that the band's northwest Haiti community of Petite Rivière Bayonnais is well-steeped in. Encompassing enthralling percussion, dance, call-and- response singing, work songs, vodou and Holy Week rara music, there's a theme of spirit possession that courses through this band’s performances. Drummers lead the way: trancelike at times but with ever-shifting rhythms, it informs the call-and-response singing and inspires the group's dancers. The dancers’ steps are not choreographed; movement springs forth from the throbbing, evolving beats. This can get intense, and this can get joyous — at its best, it's a wonderful mixture of the two. Chouk Bwa Libète’s raw, exciting sound is an homage to Haiti, a country with an indomitable spirit and an ancient mystery.