- Text by Alex King
“Good and bad is so constricting,” Lady Vendredi explains. “What about the chaotic element that just is?”
If you had to describe The Passion of Lady Vendredi stage show in one word, ‘chaos’ would be a good place to start. Channeling the spirits, rhythms and elements of Haitian vodou into her own electric cocktail of dance, beats and technicolour get-up, performance artist and musician Nwando Ebizie’s show takes audiences through a ritual like no other. Attacking gender, sexual and religious dogmas throughout, it’s a riotously immersive journey into the culture of the Afro-diaspora.
Developed alongside the stage show, which was born in East London’s gay dive clubs, the EP of the same name captures the pulsating rhythms and dutty bass of the live experience.
’Papa Legba’, premiering here at Huck, is an ode to vodou’s guardian at the gate of the crossroads, Nwando explains. “He’s the spirit who you go through to get the other spirits,” she says. “I was thinking about the Middle Passage, where thousands of people were thrown into the sea, and that comes into Haitian vodou because they believe there’s an underground paradise where all these people went to. So it’s all about crossing this boundary into other realities and asking to pass through a cosmic divide.”
The Passion of Lady Vendredi is at Soho Theatre until Saturday April 30 and the EP is out now.