Boukman Eksperyans

Libeté (Pran Pou'l!)/Liberty (Let's Take It!)

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The third U.S. release from this Haitian band finds them in good spirits, despite the sorry state of their country. The sound is still based on Haitian political and religious syncretism, Afro-pop instrumental and percussive profluence, and American guitar riffs, but the production is slicker and busier than on their last album. Boukman were hardly a folk band to begin with, but they did occasionally sing a cappella or with minimal accompaniment. With Libeté, they've become a kind of Caribbean Roxy Music, a comparison further buttressed by Theodore Beaubrun's increasing reliance on vocal whine and quaver. The songs are full of the usual references to voodoo, etc., and one track is a sentimental tribute to the Virgin Mary (as she is understood within the context of voodoo). None of it is boring, but none of it is very impressive, either.

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