A seven-piece group formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1987, featuring singers and musicians with varied experience in the Swedish music scene. Their sound is based on the ‘vodou’ rhythms of Haiti, onto which they graft elements of rock, funk and jazz and the soulful lead singer, Lotta Sjolin, sings in Haitian Creole. They soon became a popular local live attraction, also making appearances on Swedish television and radio. In 1991 they were invited to Haiti to participate in the 200th anniversary celebration of the decisive slave rebellion there. The only non-Haitian band invited to perform, they won over audiences with the inspired authenticity of their music. In 1992 the band performed in Canada and the USA. In the same year they recorded their debut album, Vodou Beat, which was released a year later. Also in 1993 they appeared alongside artists such as King Sunny Ade and Gilberto Gil, at the worlds first vodou festival, held at Benin in West Africa. The idea of a group from Northern Europe performing music based on the rhythms associated with the religious ceremonies of a Caribbean island is unusual to say the least, however, Simbi display a commitment and inventiveness that place them above mere novelty status.
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