This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
So one of my favorite music books is called the Language of the Blues. Written by a badass blues rock musician named Debra Devi. It’s sorta like a dictionary. She translates some of the most common slang and expressions of the blues into modern language. One thing that’s always mixed me up is the difference between hoodoo and voodoo. So I asked Debra to straighten me out.
Voodoo is a religion stemming from Vodun which is a you know a very ancient west African religion. People are basically trying to get themselves into a state of higher consciousness through the drumming and the singing and the dancing so that they can connect with God. Whereas hoodoo is sort of a system of folklore and beliefs and I mean hoodoo is what survived slavery. I mean if you can imagine what this must be like they were told, you can’t talk your language, you can’t dance your dance, you can’t play your music, you can’t practice your religion, you have to just work our fields. I mean when you’re taken out of your life, your daily life, your friends, your civilization and put in that kind of situation it’s terrifying and a lot of um their you know religious rituals and things were successfully suppressed but the ones that kind of survived morphed into hoodoo um and mixed in with European and Native American folklore to become this sort of rich folklore that we have today with mojo bags and jack balls and you know all that kinda cool stuff. – Debra Devi