Joseph Ray & Haitian band Lakou Mizik have teamed up on a new project titled Leave The Bones. The unlikely pairing of the former NERO producer and a noted Haitian band may not be obvious, but it has been slowly building over the past six years.
Lakou Mizik is a nine-piece band formed in 2010. The group is helmed by Sanba Zao, one of 10 original Sanba poets left, and an integral part of the 1980’s rasin (racine in French) movement that sought to re-imagine traditional Haitian Vodou music through experimentation with modern instruments. This movement underpins what Lakou Mizik does today and what helped draw Ray to them.
He heard them in 2015, arriving in Haiti to volunteer to teach a course at Haiti’s only music production and audio engineering school, the Artist’s Institute. He heard the group at a tiny beach side club in Jakmel and eventually they connected and this collaboration came to life.
Ray couldn’t work with his normal 4/4 drum beats, so he incorporated new time signatures to capture Lakou’s complex drum patterns, adding in 1930s field recordings from ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and replacing synth sounds with Mbrias and conch shell samples, while giving the band plenty of room to sound great. It is unlike anything you have heard from him.
They are also releasing a short film about Leave The Bones, with some remixes by the likes of DJ Koze and others.