Vodou-rock champions Boukman Eksperyans have released their sixth album, Kanaval Rasin-Vodou Adjae: A Spiritual & Political Anthology 19902000, on their new independent label, Balenjo Music.
The Haitian group also is in the midst of a North American tour. Launched in June, it ends on Sept. 22 at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
"We are happy about starting our own label," said Theodore "Lolo" Beaubrun Jr., the band's co-founder and lead vocalist. "Now we are better able to promote and market ourselves in a way other labels were unable to do."
Boukman Eksperyans formed in 1979 during a politically charged era in Haitian history. The group's name was taken from a Jamaican revolutionary, Boukman Dutty, who helped unify Haitian slaves in opposition to 18th-century French colonists. "Eksperyans" comes from the participatory aspect of Vodou a Haitian-based, African-derived religion whose ceremonies include tracelike dances.
Boukman Eksperyans signed with Island Records in 1989 and released their first album, Vodou Adjae, in 1990. The hits "Ke'm Pa Sote" and "Kalfou Danjere" earned them worldwide recognition and a Grammy nomination. The group went on to release two more albums on Island, Kalfou Danjere and Libète (Pran Pou Pran'l!). Libète was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, while the group was in exile. In 1998, the group signed with Tuff Gong and released Revolution and Live at Red Rocks.
The group continues to speak out about Haiti's ongoing political and economic difficulties. "Now the people have to get the power in their hands to change the situation," Beaubrun said.
Boukman Eksperyans recorded their new album in the Fugees' studio, the Booga Basement, a New Jersey facility where the Haitian-American stars recorded their multiplatinum album, The Score.
Boukman Eksperyans tour dates:
July 14; Milwaukee, Wis.; Bastille Day
July 21; Berlin, Germany; Festival of Drums
July 26; New York, N.Y.; Lincoln Center
Aug. 4; Toronto, Canada; Harborfront Center
Aug. 1112; East Lansing, Mich.; National Folk Festival
Aug. 19; Calgary, Canada; Afikadey
Aug. 26; Miami, Fla.; Fete Champete
Sept. 2; Seattle, Wash.; Bumbershoot Festival
Sept. 3; Chicago, Ill.; African Heritage Festival
Sept. 8; San Diego, Calif.; San Diego Scene
Sept. 10; Middleton, Conn.; Wesleyan University
Sept. 2122; Durham, N.C.; Duke University