Mewa Chabiera - vocal
Raphael Roginski - guitar, bass guitar, oud
Ola Rzepka - keyboards, piano
Pawel Szpura - drums
Ola Bilinska - backing vocal; Michal Gorczynski - bass clarinet, saxophone; Piotr Zabrodzki - moog, synth, frozen finger organ; Hubert Zemler - percussions
Lado ABC 2013
Even to the ones familiar with Raphael Roginski's musical output Wovoka's debut cd must come as a surprise. Roginski is a center figure of modern jewish music in Poland, reinventing the tradition and its expression with bands like Shofar, Cukunft, Alte Zachen, Yemen.
The band is named after the religious leader of Norther Paiute tribe, founder of Ghost Dance movement, also known as Jack Wilson. "Trees Against the Sky" is a tribute to the musical traditions of North America, lost in the river of time.
Music played by Wovoka combines rural blues and native american tribal feeling in a hypnotic, mystical way. There are loads of bluesy licks and slides on guitar, tribal rhythms and obstinate organ riffs that remind you of 70s psychodelic rock (The Doors come to mind a few times). Wovoka is quite an all-star ensemble with Pawel Szpura (Hera, Cukunft) on drums, Ola Rzepka (a drummer with Alte Zachen, leader of indie band Drekoty) but it's a newcomer that steals the show. I can't find any other information on the world wide web which leads me to believe that "Trees Against The Sky" marks the debut appearance on a cd for Mewa Chabiera.
Chabiera sings and screams and cries through the songs, she's truly an incarnation of a shaman prophet. Her voice is strong, deep, dark and filled with passion as much spiritual - religious as carnal - sexual. It's hard to play favourites among the 10 tracks but I'll go with the seductive late night blues "Soul of a Man", the maddening crescendo-trance of "I'm gonna run to the city of refuge" and the fiery sax cameo and percussion groove in "I know His Blood can make me whole".
Wovoka's music is both singular in vision and powerful in execution. Bluesy, spiritual, hypnotic, trance, tribal, seductive, sinous, psychodelic. It makes you it's captive. Either you will surrender and dance the Ghost Dance or you'll be scalped and your soul will be lost to you forever. Call me a believer but I daresay it's one of the most exciting releases of the year.