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World Music CD Reviews Africa

SYNKRETIZM

By MARTY LIPP
Published April 19, 2006

A Mountain Thinking The River Fire
Baboon

In some African societies, gods are believed to be music aficionados. These deities love, above all else, fast and absolutely focused grooves. In fact, they are even considered to bring illness on those who play wimpy tunes. These gods would obviously be delighted with the Haitian players of Synkretizm, who play drum and chant music based on the Voudou tradition. This album was co-recorded by a colleague of producer Bill Laswell, purported to be accessible to non-Haitians. But while the disc benefits from the excellent recording conditions, the bottom line is this is not pop; it’s drumming and chanting.  For some, that is going to be heaven; for others, a headache. You may not want to slip this on during a romantic dinner, but that is not at all what this is geared to. This is percussion meant to fire up the spirit. For non-Haitians, this might be workout or dance-your-ass-off-like-you’re-possessed music. Save the smoother grooves for dinner; just don’t invite the pantheon.