Kanaval Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti by Leah Gordon

    Soul Jazz Books

      Currently out of print

      “This book contains the most disturbing but exhilarating photographs you are ever likely to see" Bill Drummond

      Soul Jazz Records' new photography book release is a fascinating combination of stunning photographs (by Leah Gordon), cultural, historical and anthropological text (with essays by Madison Smartt Bell, Don Cosentino, Myron Beasley, Richard Fleming and Kathy Smith) and unique oral histories.

      Vodou, sex, death and revolution are key ingredients in the stunning themes and visual imagery of the street theatre of Kanaval in Jacmel, Haiti, where the men drag-up, wear diabolic cow horns, whip lassos and carry around dismembered doll parts. Light years away from the sanitized corporate-sponsored tourist parades of carnival throughout the world, this event is a vessel for everyday Haitians to shock and sexualize through masquerade, to mock local politicians, replay the slave revolt that gave birth to Haiti, the world’s first Black Republic, and to commune with the dead, with both personal and historical ancestors.

      -------------------------------------------------------

      “After the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, Carnival was cancelled in Haiti — no one can remember the last time that happened,if ever. Thank the Lord and the Lwa that we have Leah Gordon’s astounding new book — which shows us all the beauty and awe

      of Haitian carnival and also teaches us, with its masterful photographs and prose, what that celebration means to Haiti and also to the human race.” Amy Wilentz (author of ‘The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier’)

      These photographs were taken in Haiti between 1995 -2009, the year before the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. A percentage of the profit from this book will go to Ciné Institute, teaching video skills in Jacmel and Brand Aid, rebuilfding the artisanal community in Jacmel.

      “This book reveals a beautiful and strange worldJeremy Deller, Turner Prize Artist

      “This book is an adventure, full of horror, humour, sex, sensuality. The pictures have all the doubleness and capriciousness so typical of the Haitian psyche. Leah Gordon has been there again and again, year after year, digging almost forgotten details out, she has done her work. That’s what makes this book outstanding. Jorgen Leth, Filmmaker

      “This book contains the most disturbing but exhilarating photographs you are ever likely to see. One can only assume that Haiti is the most creative place on the globe. My advice is that you never go there in case you, in some small way, pollute their creativity with our bland western consumerist tastes. It is bad enough you are even holding the book. Buy it now and burn it before you have a chance to read it.” Bill Drummond

      ------------------------------------------------------

      From Don Consentino's text (extract):

      "There’s a lot of weird shit going down during Kanaval in Jacmel, and not much of it has to do with Comus and Rex tossing “throw” to sequined revellers in New Orleans, or hot babes shaking their booties in Bahia, or all those belching, farting, goosing, pissing crowds Mikhail Bakhtin panted after on the Carnival streets of Renaissance Paris.   Forget all the conventional wisdom and all the conventional images of other peoples’ Carnivals to dig what’s happening way down south in Jacmel.  Make it a Naked Lunch moment.  Look at Leah Gordon’s photographs the way William Borroughs told you to look at the end of your fork before sliding that pronged sausage into your mouth.  See it in all its naked weirdness before you consume it."

      From Richard Fleming's text (extract):

      "In Jacmel, on Haiti’s south coast, an army of aggressive youths swagger down the street. Smeared from head to toe with a vile concoction of cane syrup and powdered charcoal, they dart at the crowd, snarling like wild, rabid animals. As if the throng lining the road hasn’t already recoiled enough at the fearful spectacle, they swing long hemp whips through the air in whistling arcs. Adorned with Beelzebub’s horns, these demonic metaphors for the experience of slavery look as if they have just emerged from the La Brea tar pits, or bathed in a fresh geyser of black crude oil. They are the lanceurs de corde, the “rope-throwers”." 

      ------------------------------------------------------

      To coincide with the release of this book, Soul Jazz are also releasing a CD: "Rara in Haiti; Street Music of Haiti", recorded in Port au Prince by Soul Jazz Records. To accompany the riotous carnival sounds on this CD there is also excellent text by Richard Fleming (author of 'Walking to Guantanamo') and the striking photography of Leah Gordon. For more information or to buy this CD go here.

      Read reviews here:

      Daily Telegraph

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        • Faust – It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl
        • Neu! – Hallo Gallo
        • Cluster – Heisse Lippen
        • Ibliss – Hi Life
        • Dieter Moebius – Hasenheide
        • Amon Duul II – Fly United
        • Popol Vuh – Aguirre 1
        • Ash Ra Tempel – Daydream
        • Tangerine Dream – No Man's Land
        • Amon Duul II – Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse
        • Roedelius – Geradewohl
        • Can – I Want More
        • Deuter – Soham
        New Orleans Funk 2: The Original Sound of FunkThe Second Line StrutSoul Jazz Records
        This is Soul Jazz Records’ new journey into the heart of New Orleans and a guide to the city’s finest Funk music produced in the late 1960s and early...
        • Cyril Neville – Gossip
        • Eddie Bo – If It's Good To You (It's Good For You)
        • Ray J – Right Place Wrong Time
        • The Meters – Chicken Strut
        • Allen Toussaint – Tequila
        • The Prime Mates – Hot Tamales
        • Betty Harris – Show It
        • Lee Dorsey – Four Corners
        • Bonnie and Sheila – You Keep Me Hanging On
        • The Gaturs – Yeah You're Right, You Know You're Right
        • Danny White – The Twitch
        • Inell Young – What Do You See In Her
        • Earl King – Street Parade
        • Eddie Bo & The Soul Finders – The Rubber Band
        • Benny Spellman – Fortune Teller
        • Warren Lee – Mama Said We Can't Get Married
        • Betty Harris – 12 Red Roses
        • Joe Chopper & The Swinging 7 Soul Band – Soul Pusher
        • Eddie Bo – Hey Bo
        • Johnny Moore – Haven't I Been Good To You
        • Jimmy Hicks – I'm Mr Big Stuff
        • Warren Lee – Funky Belly
        • G. Davis and R. Tyler – Hold On Help Is On The Way
        • Art Neville – Bo Diddley
        • Porgy Jones – Dap
        Punk 45: The Singles Cover Art of Punk 1976-80Edited by Jon Savage and Stuart BakerSoul Jazz Books
        Back in print!!!Soul Jazz Records’ massive deluxe 400-page Punk 45s cover art book edited and compiled by Jon Savage (author of the seminal book on punk,...
        Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1972-83Soul Jazz Records
        Soul Jazz Records’ new Deutsche Electronische Musik 2 is our second voyage into the world of German electronic music from the 1970s and early 1980s.This...
        • A.R. & Machines – Globus
        • Can – Halleluwah
        • Roedelius – Le Jardin
        • Michael Rother – Karussell
        • Popol Vuh – Der Grosse Krieger
        • Michael Hoenig – Sun and Moon
        • Agitation Free – You Play for Us Today
        • DAF – Co Co Pino
        • Harald Grosskopf – Emphasis
        • Amon Duul II – A Morning Excuse
        • Conrad Schnitzler & Wolf Sequenza – Fata Morgana
        • Broselmaschine – Nossa Bova
        • Eno, Moebius and Roedelius – Base & Apex
        • Gila – In A Sacred Manner
        • Wolfgang Riechmann – Himmelblau
        • A.R. & Machines – Als Hatt Ich Das Alles Schon Mal Gesehen
        • Gila – Sundance Chant
        • Neu – Isi
        • Pyrolator – Danger Cruising
        • Sergius Golowin – Die Weisse Alm
        • You – Electric Day
        • Niagara – Gibli
        • Popol Vuh – Ja Sie Sollen Gottes Kinder Heissen Agnus Dei
        • Rolf Trostel – Der Prophet
        • Electric Sandwich – China
        • Asmus Tietchens – Zeebrugge
        • Faust – Krautrock
        • 2×LP Record B£18.99
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        • 2×LP Record A£18.99
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        Dancehall 2The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall CultureSoul Jazz Records
        This is the second in the series of Soul Jazz Records’ ‘Dancehall’ series featuring the A-Z of Dancehall’s finest moments. A mammoth...
        • Lone Ranger – Barnabas Collins
        • Nicodemus – Dog Is Better Than Gun
        • Johnny Osbourne and Papa Tullo – Rock And Come On Ya
        • Ini Kamoze – Trouble You A Trouble Me
        • Half Pint – One Big Ghetto
        • Yellowman – Sensemilla
        • Shabba Ranks – Respect
        • Trinity – Vampire
        • Barry Brown – Two House Department
        • Madoo – Have You Ever Been To Heaven
        • Early B – History Of Jamaica
        • Papa San – Money A Fe Circle
        • Tiger – When
        • Welton Irie – Bill Fold Wa You Fa
        • General Trees – Everything So So So So
        • Johnny Osbourne – Trench Town School
        • Edi Fitzroy – The Gun
        • Anthony Johnson – Strictly Rub A Dub
        • Jah Thomas & Radics – Saying Dub
        • Professor Nuts – Ina De Bus
        • Errol Scorcher – Roach In De Corner
        • Triston Palma – Collie Man
        • Barry Brown – Tourist Season
        • Buju Banton – Massa God World A Run
        • 1. Lone Ranger – Barnabas Collins
        • 2. Nicodemus – Dog Is Better Than Gun
        • 3. Johnny Osbourne and Papa Tullo – Rock And Come On Ya
        • View full info and tracklisting
        Punk 45: Sick on You ! One Way Spit !After the Love & Before the Revolution Vol.3: Proto-Punk 1969-77Soul Jazz Records
        This new Punk 45 album is a collection of tracks of twisted, raw and energized proto-punk music from the early 1970s, ahead-of-its-time music which led...
        • Debris – One Way Spit
        • George Brigman – Jungle Rot
        • Death – Politicians In My Eyes
        • The Hammersmith Gorillas – You Really Got Me
        • Crime – Hot Wire My Heart
        • Mirrors – She Smiled Wild
        • The Hollywood Brats – Sick On You
        • Pastiche – Derelict Boulevard
        • Cabaret Voltaire – Makes Your Mouth Go Funny
        • Jack Ruby – Hit & Run
        • Victoria Vein and The Thunderpunks – Rear Guard Action
        • Electric Eels – Cyclotron
        • The Count Bishops – Ain't Got You
        • Rob Jo Star Band – Acid Revolution
        • The 101ers – Keys To Your Heart
        • The Killer Kane Band – Mr Cool
        • Simply Saucer – Here Come The Cyborgs Part 2
        • Zolar X – Space Age Love
        • Hector – Wired Up
        • Stavely Makepeace – I Wanna Love You Like A Mad Dog
        • Radio Pete – Just A Patsy