African Music Encyclopedia

Boukman Eksperyans


Boukman Eksperyans introduced a musical revolution in Haiti in the late-'80s when they overthrew the popular compas music with their new sound Vodou Adjae (also the title of their first album). Boukman's sound merged dance music with Haiti's religious preoccupation with Vodou (one of the many forms the Yoruban religion took after the Diaspora). Their music is heavily identified in Haiti with the springtime festival called Rara. In fact, Boukman first rose to popular interest after they began winning Best Song at Carnival. In the aftermath of the the September 1991 army coup against the Aristede government, Boukman struggled against censorship culminating in having their 1992 Carnival entry, Kalfou Danjere, banned by the military authorities as "too violent". They were excluded from Carnival celebrations and their songs were prohibited from being aired on the radio.

Boukman take their name from a Vodou priest who helped to unify the Haitian slaves. The slave leader led the revolution against the French colonists which ended in 1804 with the former slaves victoriously forming the first Black republic in the world. Boukman Eksperyans spread their Vodou unifying spiritual message throughout the world with their artful blend of traditional Haitian rhythms with rock, reggae, and Caribbean sounds.

The past few years Boukman Eksperyans have appeared on the popular Africa Fete tour, which, in 1996, also included Oumou Sangare, Femi Kuti, and Baba Maal.

Back to The African Music Encyclopedia