BETHANY & RUFUS, YACOUBA MOUMOUNI AND BONGA JEAN-BAPTISTE
TROUBLE IN THE LAND
"A diabolically funky bass is joined by the song of a Fulani flute, the cadence of a Vodou drum, and the cello bowing under an incantation of the ancestors... spellbinding music."
Trouble in the Land (2018) is a spellbinding musical journey that draws from American spirituals, Haitian Vodou rhythms & West African desert blues.
The album is the newest release by Bethany & Rufus, the critically acclaimed cello and voice duo from Brooklyn, New York known for their dynamic interpretations of roots music. The recording was made in collaboration with Yacouba Moumouni (Niger), and Bonga Jean-Baptiste (Haiti) both acknowledged master musicians.
Conjuring the ancestral traditions of the old world and the new, the quartet weaves the desert winds of Africa with Vodou drumming and the earthy folk music of the Americas. It is an unexpected and thrilling synergy of song, culture, rhythm and blues.
Bethany Yarrow (vocals) sings music of power and praise. She is a song keeper, earth activist, and student of the spiritual traditions of the Americas. Onstage she is a mesmerizing, dancing spirit with a powerful voice and a living prayer for unity at the heart of her music.
Rufus Cappadocia (strings) is a a multi-lingual musician, composer and recording artist. He is a virtuoso cellist known for his transcendent improvisation and ground breaking percussive style. Spanning the modalities of Middle Eastern, West African, pan-European, and American folk forms, Rufus' effortless and natural embrace of music is awe-inspiring.
Yacouba Moumouni (vocals, flute, calabash) is one of the preeminent voices of West Africa. A master of the Fulani flute and Sahalien blues, he is a cultural ambassador of Niger and leader of the band Mamar Kassey, the first musical group to integrate all the ethnicities of Niger.
Bonga Jean-Baptiste (percussion, vocals, kalimba) is a master drummer and a repository of Haitian rhythm, dance and song. He is a pioneer of Haitian Racine music and a founder of the seminal Haitian roots bands, Boukman Eksperyans and Foula.
Individually all of the members of the group have been instrumental in expanding the role of traditional forms in their respective music: Bethany, the daughter of legendary 60’s folk singer Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, draws from a rich legacy; Rufus is noted for his astonishing collaborations with folkloric artists from around the world, as well as his solo cello repertoire; Yacouba is from the folkloric Hausa, Djerma, Peul and Songhai traditions of Niger; and Bonga descends from an original lineage of Vodou ceremonial drumming and folklore.
Together these musicians are a force for good in the world of music, and the world at large. Inside the powerhouse vocals, polyrhythmic groove and traditional melodies, there is a message of peace, respect, unity, and connection that reaches out to audiences across language and time.
MOTHERLESS CHILD / TABUSS'IZAY (2018)
A time lapse spirit journey of the old spiritual woven with Yacouba Moumouni's haunting vocals of Tabuss'izay – a song from Niger about an immigrant child who is going on his life's journey. While his mother cries, he says, "I will return when I am grown... A man who has not journeyed is not yet truly a man." It is a song full of proverbs and traditional wisdom for those who have gone far from home.
LININ' TRACK (TV5)
Live on French TV, Bethany & Rufus, Yacouba and Bonga perform the traditional American work song Linin' Track.