Review by Graham Blackley
In this sad, dark age of divisive hatred, nonsensical nationalism and narrow minded stupidity, it is more than refreshing to stumble across the passionately open-minded cross-cultural explorations of Melbourne's adventurous and talented Kerri Simpson. "Vodou: Songs of the Spirits", rich with the collaboration of over fifty musicians and composers from all around the world, takes the listener on a journey into Haitian spirituality, history, philosophy and music and manages to promote the cause of humanitarianism and empathy.
The results are sonically and lyrically breathtaking and well worth repeated listens. In fact, since receiving this magnum opus I have already played it five times in less than three days and it just seems to get better with each listen! The music incorporates everything from roots to folk to trippin‚, almost psych, soundscapes, and from sassy soul to pulsating organic and electronic rhythms.
The highlight of the album for me is the stirring "Spirits Of My Land". Kerri explains the purpose behind the song in her excellent and detailed liner notes. She points out that the song is "a call in Yorta Yorta (an Australian Aboriginal language) and English to the Lwa [the Vodou spirits] to join the Aboriginal spirits in assisting the plight of the people of Australia." Even if you miss the message you will lap up the rich, textured sound and silky, soulful vocals.
Another standout track is the deliciously haunting "Agwe" which according to Kerri "asks guidance from Agwe [the Master Iwa of the sea] through the journey of life." I‚m pretty sure that the spine-tingling vocals are those of Not Drowning, Waving‚s David Bridie and by God he certainly knows how to sing! What a sound! What an album!
If you are in search of a positive, mind-expanding, life-affirming vibe, then this is the CD for you! Perhaps we should send a copy to certain, high-profile blissfully blinkered politicians. Maybe they need this even more than we do.