When we hear the word ‘voodoo’ we usually think of pins and dolls, black magic and other negative images brought to us by a century of Hollywood films. But that image is complete nonsense. Voodoo is actually a common spiritual belief practiced by millions of people worldwide. And it is gaining popularity, especially among musicians. Music journalist Leendert van der Valk will talk about the immense but largely forgotten and neglected influence of West-African voodoo on modern music. He will take the listener on a trip from New Orleans via the Caribbean to West-Africa and color this journey with examples of music in modern hiphop and pop to jazz, blues, funk and afrobeat. Along this musical trip you will learn more about the essence of voodoo, its connection to music and the role of slave trade in spreading the Voodoo Gods all over the world. Find out what Beyoncé has to do with the ancient river Goddess Oshun and how the Dutch jazz sound was influenced by Surinamese winti spirits.
Bio – Leendert van der Valk (The Hague,1980) is a freelance journalist specialized in African and Afro-Caribbean music and culture. He writes for NRC Handelsblad, nrc.next, Jazzism, Trouw and other media. In 2011 he wrote a book called Duivelsmuziek about his bicycle trip from Memphis to New Orleans, a trip down the history of blues, jazz, funk and soul. His latest book Voudou. From New Orleans to Cotonou on the Rhythm of the Gods was published in 2017. In it Leendert investigates the immense but often neglected influence of West-African voodoo on modern music. The book takes the reader from New Orleans via Haiti and Surinam to Togo and Benin.