Mathilda Beauvoir – Le Vaudou - Chants & Danses D'Haïti (Cérémonie Vaudou) [VINTAGE]
Mathilda Beauvoir was a Haitian singer, dancer, composer, and mambo (vodou priestess), who gained public attention in the 1960s and 70s for her singular performances and her Paris club, “Le Vaudou.” The venue, which was billed as “le premier hounfor [temple] européen,” was located in Pigalle, in Cité Véron, and drew crowds of white Parisians and Haitian and African immigrants, alike. Beauvoir was a great-granddaughter of Haitian president Florvil Hyppolite (1889-1896), the half-sister of biochemist and “Chef Supreme du Vodou” Max Beauvoir, and the wife of writer Claude Planson, on whose book cover (Vaudou, Rituels et Possessions) she appears. Beauvoir was a highly gifted and skilled dancer as well as a devoted vodouisant and spiritual leader. As such, Le Vaudou functioned both as a hounfour and a quasi supper club, with a “cast” of dancers and devotees from Haiti, who were experienced in the rituals and movements of spirit possession, as well as the choreographic stylings of Katharine Dunham. In this way, Beavuoir, her performance art, and the space she created, blurred the lines of religious and artistic expression, culminating in a uniquely profound and captivating experience and environment. According to a 1976 profile from Le Monde, the venue was purchased with the pledges of one hundred French supporters, who put forth the funds to have the premises converted into the venue that became Le Vaudou. An organized community of academics and practitioners associated with Beauvoir, her husband, and the temple arose and gained the cultural preservationist interests of UNESCO. In addition to the temple, the community owned a property in Rambouillet, on the outskirts of Paris, where they invited Haitian immigrants to live and become settled before moving into Paris. Beauvoir’s legacy is immortalized through her recorded albums, short video clips, and through her relatives: rock and roll pioneer Jean Beauvoir of The Ramones, Kiss, and other fame, as well as his sister music artist Malou Beauvoir, whose art, like Mathilda’s, combines the best of Haitian Vodou and spirituality with music and performance. Post by Kai Toussaint Marcel.