RADA™ is a robotic music ensemble integrated in the LOAproject developed by the Lucifer’s Ensemblecollective. LOA is a reflection over Haitian and Louisiana Voodoo, bridging art, anthropology, the experimental and the ancestral. The starting point of research begins with the works of the choreographer, dancer, writer and experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, such as the Religious Possession in Dancing and Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti.
Rada is a set of Loas (deities) and rites that descend from the Kingdom of Dahomey (presently Republic of Benin), using in its cerimonies the Rada battery - an ensemble comprised of a family of three drums made out of carved wood and a membrane made of cowhide: the manman (the biggest drum), segon (medium drum)andboula(smallest drum). Where the drummers role in such rites is to both stimulate and interact with the possession of the participants, said to be ‘mounted’ by the Loas.
Voodoo, as an ancestral religion, has been under constant mutation over the ages, exhibiting different artefacts and mixed cultural expressions spread around several countries such as Haiti, Benin, Togo, Cuba or Brasil, just to name a few. Likewise, RADA™ is not a robotic emulation of the Rada battery and percussionists but rather a unique robotic ensemble inspired by Rada drums and the rhythmic patterns used in its rites. It aims to explore the relationship between music and trance states, using generative music algorithms to generate long duration performances based on transcriptions of a set of musical patterns dedicated to given Loas (such as Legba or Samedi), posing the question: how can automatons induce us into trance-like states ?