Best Haitian Band

Papaloko and Loray Mistik

Since 1989 the "mystic thunder" of Loray Mistik has boomed all over town. Led by Papaloko (Jude Thegenus), the self-crowned king of vodou pop, this ten-piece band mixes traditional vodou rhythms with West African percussion, rock and roll, blues, and hip-hop. A painter, political commentator, and cultural promoter as well as band leader, Thegenus instituted the full-moon drumming circle on Miami Beach in 1992. His Papaloko persona joined the Drum Society to release the independently produced CD Full Moon Energy in 1996, a haunting assortment of West African rhythms from Yorubaland. With Loray Mistik Papaloko released Ti Moun Yo in 1998, a collection of politically inflected tunes addressing issues ranging from the plight of children in Haiti to police brutality against black men in the United States. The hardest-working band in the Haitian roots business, Loray Mistik is a festival favorite, playing at events from Metrozoo's Feast with the Beasts to Calle Ocho to a roots fest in Trinidad. Their righteous rasin sound currently reverberates on weekend nights through the elegantly revamped Power Studios.

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