Malou Beauvoir returns with her new single, ‘KENBEM (Hold Me Up)’. The Haitian American singer songwriter was raised by her Catholic mother but was also profoundly affected by a father who practiced Vaudou.
The relationship between the Catholic Church and Haitian Vaudou has not always been a friendly one. One tradition is historically dominated by European voices, while the other has roots deep in Africa and the Caribbean. Yet there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a respectful dialogue between the two religions. Catholicism and Vaudou actually have much in common – there’s a deep tactility to both faiths, a theatrical quality, an emphasis on ritual and rite, and a belief in the power of intermediating spirits and saints. Malou Beauvoir has seen Catholicism and Vaudou, she understands their nuances, magic, and beauty, and she’s here to say that cross-cultural exchange is possible.
Malou believes that the vehicle for this reconciliation is her latest single and video, ‘Kenbem (Hold Me Up)’, and that it should serve as a healing balm for troubled times. Beauvoir is a gorgeous singer and an appealing cultural ambassador, and she has a way of integrating traditional Haitian sounds and rhythms into North American and Northern European pop songs. ‘Kenbem’ is Beauvoir’s reworking of Secret Garden’s song, ‘You Raise Me Up’, which was taken to the top of the charts in 2003 by Josh Groban. Malou Beauvoir’s version starts out as reverent as a church processional, before integrating dance rhythms. Fitting Haitian Creole lyrics into the timeless melody of the original, the result is a classic that’s been transformed, opened up, and reimagined for people of all faiths and traditions.
Malou Beauvoir found a very suitable place to shoot the video in the historic St. Bartholomew’s Church, in New York City. Here she illustrates her own intellectual evolution, showing us the young girl, the devout mother, the intense father, and all of the symbols of faith and religious practice that imprinted the mysteries of the spiritual world on her young mind. We are shown the many intersecting points between Vaudou and Catholicism: candles, clothes, the celebratory feel of services, the sense of surrender to a higher power. Malou asks, can we not just set aside our differences and concentrate on the many things we have in common? If we did, then maybe Haiti – and the whole world – might heal.
Watch the video below, and find out more about Malou Beauvoir and her music on her official website.