MA, BA (hons, First Class)

Inocation To Legba



“Legba is one of the most important loa in Haitian Voodoo. He is the first called in a service, so that he can open the gates to the spirit world, enabling communication with other loa. No loa dares show itself without Legba’s permission. He controls the crossing over from one world to the other. Legba is also known to hold the “key of the spiritual world,” and for this reason is identified with the Christian St. Peter.” Deren

In Voudon rituals, complex polyrhythmic sequences are employed as a form of holy music to invoke specific Loa (gods) and to assist those involved to achieve a state of receptiveness to the spectacle of the ritual and to provide a shared point of altered consciousness.

There is a long running tradition in electronic music of sound being used in a repetitive, trance inducing manner, spiritual state, particularly with regards to techno and rave culture where rhythms and loops are used in similar ways. This piece acts as a bridge between these two cultural practices and pays tribute to both.


A series of components were constructed in modular synthesis drawing on textural and structural qualities found in ethnographic recordings made of Haitian Voudon rituals. While this exploration had been taking place over a period of time, the decision to present it as a performance at the opening of Invocations, an exhibition I co-curated with Norman Shaw led to a more focussed output and timescale for the undertaking.

Drawing equal inspiration from the traditional structures (polyrhythms revolving around odd loops and measures of three and six are associated with Legba) and the aesthetics of minimal techno the structures were interwoven into a continuous 20 minute piece building a persistent, dense, modulating and otherworldly intervention.


Invocation To Legba was performed at Invocations, 19/04/13.

Maya Deren’s ‘Divine Horsemen’ was present as a ritual object and tribute to Legba as a text that acts as bridge between cultures.