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In the U.S., Haitian voodoo is often associated with black magic. But in truth, not all voodoo ceremonies involve the occult. A New York band that surfaced in the mid-1990s, Noo Voo Doo has tried to counter the stereotypical image Americans tend to have of voodoo. The unpredictable Holylands isn't traditional Haitian music, but rather is best described as conceptual pop/rock and soul/pop with African, Haitian and Afro-Caribbean elements. While the overall sound of Noo Voo Doo (which has a soulful lead singer in Mary Desarle, and sometimes hints at the Neville Brothers) is fairly Americanized, the uplifting, deeply spiritual to "You and Me," "Chante" and "Pray for Rain" were inspired by the positive side of Haitian voodoo culture. Visionary and unorthodox, this fine CD was one of early 1997's most memorable releases.

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