Archive for April, 2008

Filed Under (Beninese culture, Ethnomusicology, General) by Rob on 02-04-2008

I hope not! But then, you can’t really say such a thing here in Benin, as voodoo is a national religion, with the same status as Christianity or Islam.

It has, in fact, very little to do with sticking pins in dolls, but resembles African animistic religion in many ways, with a smattering of witchcraft thrown in too. I could post plenty of semi-disturbing pictures of sacrificial rituals with blood everywhere, but it might put you off your breakfast! In the photo below (taken before a ceremony started), the thing in the bottom left corner is the fetish and the cow to the right is enjoying the last moments of his life before….yes, you guessed it.


What do you think about voodoo? For the Brits reading this, there’s a programme on channel Four this Friday about Benin and Voodoo, which I’d encourage you to watch. Details here. (Video plus+: 918742)

Much of the research I am currently carrying out in southern Benin is linked to music of voodoo origin and how this is being ‘reclaimed’ for church use. Is this a good thing? Is there such a thing as an ‘evil’ rhythm or is it all in the words? What about the risk of syncretism? Some churches are finding these genres a useful tool in evangelism and in the demystification of the whole voodoo thing. Others will not touch it with a barge pole. What do you think? There’s a PhD in there somewhere!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 01-04-2008

Help! I’m marooned on a desert island. Look:


Amazingly, I have my laptop with me to write this post. And of course, thanks to iTunes, I don’t even have to choose my favourite songs to take with me; I have 2000 of them ‘on tap’. Well, sooner or later, I’ll have to brave the shark-infested waters, but until then I have a few coconuts left to eat. I think I’ll wait till Friday comes, then swim for it!

PS Did you know Rob was actually short for ‘Robinson’?!