Exuma, the Obeah Man

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 23, 2017 03:40pm | Post a Comment


Old Absinthe House

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

"They tied ten onions 'round my naval string,
Then they cut it and they baked it and made it into a ring.
Come on Shango, Satan come to me,
Let me speak what I can't see"
-- Exuma, "Mama Loi, Papa Loi"

Do you believe in time-travel? I do and this evening I plan on putting on my baby-blue corduroy suit, slipping on my Swatch watch (with twisted rubber guards), stuffing some old currency in my shabby wallet, and laying on top my bed sheets like Christopher Reeve in Somewhere in Time. There, after deep meditation and astral-projection, I will transport back in time to the French Quarter in 1983, where I will stroll to the Old Absinthe House and pleasantly "Chase the Green Fairy" till I’m beyond inebriated, while listening to the haunting Obeah moans and melodic hoodoo folk songs of the musician Tony McKay, who played there often while he lived in New Orleans in the early '80s. Tony was known to most, but far too few, as the musician called Exuma.

Somewhere in Time

Imagine, if you will, if Screamin' Jay Hawkins had a little brother that was perhaps a little more serious Exumaabout voodoo and who went down the path of folk music rather than the blues? You would have Exuma.

Born on Cat Island in the Caribbean, Exuma would move to New York's Greenwich Village in his late teens and play music inspired by Obeah (Caribbean folk magic) in small clubs and venues. Over the years Exuma would play with such bands as Curtis Mayfield, Peter Tosh, and…Black Flag ("We're gonna get revenge. You won't know what hit you. We're tired of being screwed!!!"). Exuma's music is very unique and it sits on its own special spice rack. When you listen to his songs, you will realize what an inspiration he has been to many musicians.

Here's Exuma's "Baal" and then everyone’s favorite holy rock n’ rollers, The Knights of the New Crusade, covering Exuma’s Baal.

Tonight, while you are finishing your scrumptious din-din at Val’s Burger in Hayward (I always get the Mama Burger with onion rings), throw a handful of your French fries on the table. If three of them are pointing directly at you, this is a sign that you should buy an Exuma album immediately and test your time-travel abilities listening to it. However, if you are more into onion rings, like me, then you can forgo the French fry ritual and instead take a medium-sized, crispy onion ring home and tie it to a string, light a candle, and then hold up the string and spin the onion ring while staring through its hole at the candle’s flame on the other side, all while listening to this song.

For this my friend, done with proper concentration and honest, strong beliefs in cheeseburger sorcery, could instantly teleport you to a place you have always wanted to go…Confusion Hill.

“Now go do, that voodoo, that you do…so well”
~ Hedley Lamarr

Relevant Tags

Exuma (2), Kai Wada Roath (38), Obeah (1), Folk Music (11), The Knights Of The New Crusade (1), Magic (13), Caribbean (0)