Named for the Haitian god of rain, Simbi comes thundering out of Sweden like a tropical storm, passionately interpreting the music and meaning of Haitian worldbeat with funk, rock and jazz. VODOU BEAT overflows with rolling rhythms and tropical tunes, crafted around impassioned vocals and choruses in Haitian Creole.
The arrangements on VODOU BEAT range from danceable funk to shimmering jazz. Snatches of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jeff Beck, Weather Report, Jan Garbarek and James Brown crop up amidst African percussion, Latin rhythms, hip hop and even Indian melody lines. Many of the songs on VODOU BEAT are traditional lyrics given modern settings by Simbi. The first cut, "Simbi," features fat, sassy baritone sax squawks and thick, funky bass lines; "Ezuli" is a sunny, modern jazz-fusion workout, dedicated to the Haitian goddess of love; and "Fre O" is an evocative ballad -- its airy spaces laced with moody vocals, fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and floating soprano sax.
The seven members of Simbi are all well-known and respected figures on the Swedish music scene, with backgrounds in rock, jazz and folk. Their passion for Haitian and Caribbean music and culture led to the band’s formation in 1987. Since establishing itself on the Swedish music scene, Simbi has played in Haiti, New York, Montreal and in the world’s first-ever vodou festival in Benin, West Africa, with King Sunny Ade and Gilberto Gil.