Black Arts Lab & The Lost Tribe of Benin Mass Choir
The Gospel According to Voodoo
‘Lectric Veve was originally produced as an instrumental album but upon experimenting with layering vocal samples, it quickly evolved beyond my expectations and inadvertently revealed parallels between a Sunday morning African-American Pentecostal church service and a Benin, West African vodun ceremony. Through merging African tribal rhythms and chants, old-school house grooves, techno embellishments and multi-layered vocal samples, ‘Lectric Veve celebrates that undeniable DNA strand.
With ultra-funky danceability which pays tribute to Nigerian Afrobeat, and Jùjú music gods, Fela Kuti - “Zombie”, and King Sunny Adé - “Juju Music”, its dense production often plays as sound collages recalling works by Brian Eno and David Byrne - “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, Steve Reich - “It's Gonna Rain”, Nurse With Wound - “Rocket Morton”, and its trance-inducing repetition evokes the arpeggiated compositions of Philip Glass and Terry Riley. But this album’s true inspiration can be found in the “Ghetto House” blueprints of Chicago underground labels such as, Dance Mania, Trax and Relief Records, as well as, gospel vocal pioneers, Dorothy Love Coates & The Original Gospel Harmonettes - “The Best of...”, and my most favorite gospel choir, Rev. Isaac Douglas and The New York Community Choir - “Let’s Go Higher."
As I started to add the vocal samples to the instrumental tracks, I was inspired by a comment from an interview with Swedish rock band, The Hives, in which they state, "We discovered if you play the same riff as long as possible before changing it, people go crazy!" So, get ready to dance, chant, sing and shout throughout this journey from Papa Legba to the pulpit. - Black Arts Lab & The Lost Tribe of Benin Mass Choir
Note: The album’s release date, Jan.10, 2019 coincides with “National Voodoo Day” an annual festival in Benin, West Africa.
of, relating to, or denoting any of a number of Christian sects and individuals emphasizing baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, and exorcism.[with reference to the baptism in the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost (Acts 2: 9-11).]
Vodun (meaning spirit in the Fon and Ewe languages) is practiced by the Fon people of Benin, and southern and central Togo; as well in Ghana, and Nigeria. It is distinct from the various traditional African religions in the interiors of these countries and is the main source of religions with similar names found among the African diaspora in the Americas - Wiki
A veve (also spelled vèvè or vevè) is a religious symbol commonly used in different branches of voodoo throughout the African diaspora - Wiki
Benin, West Africa
Birthplace of Vodun
“Keep your ‘lectric eye on me, babe.”
released January 10, 2019
Written, Arranged & Produced by Black Arts Lab
Black Arts Laboratory, Berlin
Vocals - Lost Tribe of Benin Mass Choir