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Biography

Erol Josué was born in Port-au-Prince, in the residential district of Martissant. Born in voodoo, cradled by traditional music, raised in the family hummus, he was initiated at the age of 17 as a houngan (voodoo priest) by his mother (mambo) and his stepfather. Today master of the “Sosyete lafrik Ginen”peristyle, Erol directs the ceremonies and receives for consultations. He also developed a great knowledge of nature and the plants that heal and officiates as a “leaf doctor”, traditional Haitian medicine, with respect for nature. This anchoring and this Voodoo culture are inseparable from his personality, his artistic career on the one hand and his anthropological and ethnological knowledge on the other. His natural talents and abilities as a singer and dancer first manifested in this religion, from which he draws from the traditional repertoire much of his artistic inspiration. The active voodoo priest fed the actor and dancer. His music is thus at the crossroads of African-American, Caribbean and European cultures … It is rooted in the traditions of Haitian voodoo, but draws on all sources of inspiration. Capable of writing songs prolifically, he also has a spellbinding stage presence. In Paris, where he lived for thirteen years, he set up the Shango Company with thirteen singers and dancers, of which he was choreographer and producer until he moved to the United States in 2002. From this voluntary exile in Paris in 1993 the first voodoo opera, Péristyle des Nuits, was born. If it is Haiti that he expresses through his shows, it is the voodoo that he wishes to present in a new, authentic and washed-out caricatures. “I have had the rare privilege of living my voodoo spiritual life at home, while attending Catholic school during the day. I never converted and now I can help dispel the voodoo myths. As an artist, I can help make it easier to understand, “he says. Discovered by Paris as a dancer, it was in the United States that he found himself rather a singer. He describes himself as a show professional, a specialist in ethno-scenology, who learned and designs his shows while observing the traditions of the world. Having studied dance, Erol offers passionate performances during his shows. His ability to express himself in English, French or Creole, allows him to connect with a wide variety of audiences and musicians. The result is a unique and powerful work, around a personality of particular strength and depth. These intimate experiences with all the elements of his culture gave him the opportunity to teach and share his knowledge internationally. Erol is invited to give workshops and lectures at major American universities, from Harvard to Michigan or Duke University, and places himself in the Dictionary of Caribbean and Latin American Biographies at the University of Oxford. This “anthropological mission” carried out in Haiti and abroad earned him a new challenge in Haiti in 2012, by agreeing to head the National Bureau of Ethnology, then partially destroyed by the earthquake of 2010. Ethnographer and man of field, this site looks like him, he who has always, collects sounds and images and remembers Haitian works and traditions. This involvement in public affairs also appeared to him to be a spiritual reunion with his biological father, Captain of the Navy exiled by Duvalier in 1970, a few months before the birth of Erol. Guided by his passion and perhaps this filial spirit, in four years he has taken up the challenge of physically restoring the BNE and giving it a new life by changing its image. Publications, exhibitions and shows will also stimulate student interest in the Faculty of Ethnology. Who better than he could keep the temple, evolving, of Haitian traditions, of its folklore, of its spirits, of its tales? Federator and curator of the intangible heritage of Voodoo, Erol Josué defines himself by these essential roots and defends a secular and sacred tradition. He manages, thanks to his art, to express what voodoo i His return to Haiti has marked a new era in recent years, with the ambition of offering another “scene” by developing ethno-scenology. A living scene where a decoction of these memories that it interweaves takes place: his personal childhood memories between Carrefour, the Cold River and popular beliefs and the collective memory of the roots and traditions of Haiti. Erol brings together the sacred and the profane on his stage, he creates improbable crossroads that celebrate unique encounters between the Neges Fla Vodun, women initiated into voodoo and jazz artists like the Cuban Omar Sosa. It collides with the living present and the timeless, it weaves the intangible heritage by putting shreds of memory end to end, using the live performance as much as audio-visual techniques. Its weaving is interbreeding and brings together inspirations and artists from around the world, such as the gnawas of Essaouira in Morocco or the West Indian saxophonist Jacques Schwartz Bart. Erol Josué, artist and atypical personality fires all (sacred) wood, and leads his audience in his wake, communicating to him his thirst for knowledge and sharing with him his duty of memory and his immanent mission: to find the roots and heritage of our humanities, to value them as a heritage to enrich and perpetuate in modernity and diversity. A mission that will result in the near future in a writing project: a collection of voodoo songs to promote and respect the spoken word.s and to give the keys to understand its true face and transmit its heritage.