A traditional Haitian Mizik Rasin — roots music — band, Chouk Bwa, formerly Chouk Bwa Libète, realizes the source of a drum and dance style using percussion and call-and-response vocals that are infused with Haitian Vodou. « Chouk Bwa » means « Root » in Haitian creole.
Three percussionists and two dancers are led by composer Jean Claude « Sambaton » Dorvil on vocals and the fer, an iron bar/bell that announces different rhythms employed to call up the spirits, assisted by Gomez « Djopipi » Henris.
Chouk Bwa display the deep African heritage of Haiti, torn from Africa and secretly re-planted in a new land. The band members speak for Haiti, a nation that has seen the hardest of times and maintains a relentless spirit and strength through its culture.
Their music is about life and authenticity, as Jim Morekis says in Connect Savannah, March 2017: « (...) Any of us could have died during the show and considered it a fitting end to a life well lived! (...) »
Catalina Maria Johnson describes their show at WOMEX 2015 in Wall Street International: « Chouk Bwa Libète was a wonderful example of the pure, unbridled joy of Haitian roots music — Mizik Rasin— and its Vodou-based rural songs and dances. More than a crafted art form, the music of Chouk Bwa Libète arose in waves of percussion, vocals and movement that seemed authentically inspired right in the moment and communicated nothing but the sheer joy of sharing exactly that particular, unique musical moment. »
In September 2016 Chouk Bwa meet the Brussels based duo The Ångstromers. Frédéric Alstadt and Ripit are specialized in live experiments with vintage electronic instruments like modular synths.
This new project combines a new dub sensitivity and Haitian rhythm science. The result is a very distinctive blend: a kind of future-leaning Vodou dub.
The Chouk Bwa rhythm scientists are steeped in the deep traditions and long cultural memory found in Gonaives, Haiti. Branching out of Africa into an ever-expanding Diaspora, this incarnation seeks a new soundscape for each evocation. Never a retromania obsessed with return, Chouk Bwa & the Ångstromers unearth untimely dances where rituals of the future can be heard leaking into the precisions of the past. These technicians of the sacred invoke the spirits of freedom through songs rooted in their ancestral ceremony.
A 7 inch of their common live performance at Café Central (Brussels) has ben released in September 2017 on Ångstrom Records. A new album will be released in 2020.