A traditional Haitian Mizik Rasin — roots music — band, Chouk Bwa, formerly Chouk Bwa Libète, realizes the source of a drum and dance style using percussion and call-and-response vocals that are infused with Haitian Vodou. « Chouk Bwa » means « Root » in Haitian Creole.
Three percussionists and two dancers are led by composer Jean Claude « Sambaton » Dorvil on vocals and the fer, an iron bar/bell that announces different rhythms employed to call up the spirits, assisted by Gomez « Djopipi » Henris.
Chouk Bwa display the deep African heritage of Haiti, torn from Africa and secretly re-planted in a new land. The band members speak for Haiti, a nation that has seen the hardest of times and maintains a relentless spirit and strength through its culture.
In September 2016 Haitian vodou band Chouk Bwa (WOMEX 2015) meet the Brussels based duo The Ångströmers. This new project combines a new dub sensitivity and Haitian rhythm science and spirituality.
Modular synths and other vintage electronic instruments bring another dimension to Chouk Bwa’s music, although obviously it is always the band’s groove and fluent tempo that leads the energy of the ensemble: no laptops, no drum machines. There are certain freedoms that cannot be coerced. Even more, the electronic instruments are wired directly to the drums that feed them with impacts and caresses. All the Vodou families are there with their many rhythms and songs. Radical Vodou roots for urban audiences.
This new ensemble has performed at Siestes Electroniques (Toulouse, FR), Eastern Daze (Gent, BE), Explore the North (Leeuwarden, NL) in 2018 and at Trans Musicales de Rennes in 2019, among other gigs. They released their first album via Bongo Joe in May 2020.
Album release, Buda Musique
Summer tour: Roskilde Festival ~ Afrikafestival Hertme ~ Amsterdam Roots ~ WOMEX Budapest, showcase
Summer tour: Førde Festival ~ WOMAD Charlton Park ~ Rainforest World Music Festival ~ Cross Culture Festival...
Savannah Music Festival ~ Festival International de Jazz de Montréal ~ Sunfest London ~ Harrison Hot Springs ~ Vancouver Folk Music Festival ~ Dawson City Music Festival ~ Calgary Folk Music Festival
UK tour Feb-March (Macking Tracks)
Europe (with The Ångströmers): Siestes Electroniques Toulouse ~ Respect Festival Praha ~ Eastern Daze Gent
Transmusicales de Rennes
Catalina Maria Johnson, Wall Street International (USA) - WOMEX 2015
« Chouk Bwa Libète: Haitian roots textures, raw and pure
Chouk Bwa Libète was a wonderful example of the pure, unbridled
joy of Haitian roots music — Mizik Rasin— and its Vodou-based rural
songs and dances. More than a crafted art form, the music of Chouk
Bwa Libète arose in waves of percussion, vocals and movement that
seemed authentically inspired right in the moment and
communicated nothing but the sheer joy of sharing exactly that
particular, unique musical moment. »
Madanmohan Rao, World Music Central (IN) - Rainforest World Music Festival 2016
« (...) The voodoo music featured an astonishingly intricate yet highly danceable array of rhythms and chants, with multiple fades and crescendos. The energy was so infectious that lead vocalist Jean Claude Sambaton Dorvil even seemed to be possessed with a spirit for some time, adding a layer of drama to the performance (...). »
Connect Savannah - Savannah Music Festival 2017
« (...) any of us could have died during the show and considered it a fitting end to a life well lived! (...) »
Doug Deloach, Songlines - Savannah Music Festival 2017
« Chouk Bwa Libète delivered a scorching set of soul-stirring, call-and-response funkiness. »