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8461: RAM in UK paper (fwd)
Loafer's guide - Voodoo - The Observer (UK Sunday newspaper), June 24, 2001
Ah! 'Do do that voodoo that you do...'?
All right already. We're not talking Cole Porter here. Britain is about to
fall under a new spell, courtesy of RAM, Haiti's leading voodoo-rock group
and an exhibition of voodoo art.
And do RAM do voodoo?
The preferred spelling is vodou, but since you ask, the 13-piece band does
traditional vodou drums and the bamboo trombones which summon the gods, along
with heavy-rock electric guitar and keyboards. They mix religious traditions
with rock, and the Creole and English lyrics are clues to Haiti's struggles
to overcome years of corruption and dictatorship. So, as well as touring
England and Wales with material from their new album, Kite Yo Pale (Let Them
Talk) they will give a benefit concert at Stratford Circus (020 8279 1000) on
1 July for Plan International, the fostering agency which works with Haitian
children. Band leader Richard Morse is a Haitian-American former punk rocker
who bought the famous Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince from a vodou priest
for $20, and turned it into a haven for artists and political commentators.
Wasn't that the hotel Graham Greene used in his novel The Comedians?
The same. Now you'll find the likes of Andy Kershaw or film director Jonathan
Demme propping up the bar. It's become a popular watering hole for the
intrepid world traveller, art collectors and music fans - RAM play there on
Thursdays. At their last gig, three clubbers succumbed to the vodou drumming
and keeled over, possessed.
Like the proverbial zombies?
More folk myths! But elements of Haitian religion are seldom far from its
art. In Bath, the Erzuli Gallery (01225 470 025), named after a vodou
goddess, is showcasing artefacts like sequinned flags and bottles and
paintings inspired by vodou modern folk artists. Haitian painter Patrick
Boucard, a student at Central Saint Martins, is co-owner. His current work
explores the notorious cult of the zombie, the so-called living dead.
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