Mambo Old Men

What is mambo music? Mambo is a Cuban musical genre and dance with African roots, created in the 1930s. It is a mixture of Cuban sound and montuno, with a jazz-inspired formation. The manbo (in Creole; pronounced mãbo), or mambo in French, is a priestess in the voodoo religion in Haiti, whose role is to interpret the wishes of the lwas. This tradition is inherited from the hounsi in Africa. Its male equivalent is the houngan (pronounced hougan). The manbo’s vocation often comes from the family, but it can also arise through a dream or an illness that reveals her mission. During the week-long initiation, the manbo or houngan must swear to respect the powers of the lwa, and a lwa remains on the head of the priestess or priest for life to protect him. It is on this basis that I have seen old wise men and a bit of modern witchdoctors dancing the mambo.

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