Maya Deren was an avant-garde American filmmaker with a sideline in field recordings. During the early 1950s, she traveled to Haiti to investigate the country's notorious voodoo religion, in the process getting some of the first recordings of traditional songs and tribal chants. While Elektra Records released some of these in 1953, it took until 1980 for the full set to be come out. Wisely, Psychic Sounds has licensed that album, Divine Horsemen - The Voodoo Gods of Haiti, for this superb reissue. As you'd expect, the recordings are on the fuzzy side, but hugely atmospheric. Densely percussive and rich in chanted vocals, with the humid stickiness of local wildlife audible in the background, they feel like essential echoes of a now distant past.
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