Fusion of the Spirits

Boukman Eksperyans doin' that vodou they do so well

"It's our language," Beaubrun declares. "We don't have to be ashamed of it. When we were in school, they prevented you sometimes from speaking creole. If you speak French, you'll be accepted by the society; you're somebody, you're in a higher class. We're fighting against that. That's why we did that song."

At Boukman Eksperyans concerts everywhere -- from S.O.B.'s in Manhattan to various South Florida stages -- the show opens with a white-robed priest performing a solemn ceremony, sans the wax dolls and zombies of Hollywood-style voodoo. Exhortations and chanting follow, with the voices and instruments eventually raising the level of onstage excitement and audience enthusiasm to a feverish pitch.

On occasion at Boukman performances, dancers work themselves into trances onstage. It's a reminder of the band's continuing belief in vodou, described by Beaubrun as a way of life as much as a religion.

"When what you're thinking, saying, and doing is one, they call it ginen," he explains. "In our culture it's part of the social part, it's the economic part, and it's politics also. In the social part, it's called lakou, with an extended group of people living together on the land. They practice cooperation. They share a lot of things together. It's different from the capitalism, living in the city.

"Many of us follow Jesus, or Buddha, or Krishna, or Mohammed, or Moses -- all true people who came to Earth," Beaubrun continues. "It's important to us to bring that message of unity, of harmony, to people. We believe in nonviolence. We don't tell people to take arms and get on the streets and shoot. That's not the kind of revolution we're talking about. We're talking about a revolution of love, peace, and justice."

Boukman Eksperyans performs Saturday, August 28, at the Earth N' Us Farm (7630 NE 1st Ave.) in Little Haiti. For more information call 305-644-9000.


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"Fêt Farm," By Judy Cantor, August 26

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