Various Artists, Voo Doo (Mambito Records)

Though voodoo’s loaded with tradition, folklore and dogma, the New Orleans variant, as opposed to its African and Haitian counterparts, is an indigenous one characterized by syncopated drumming and differing spiritual interpretations, such as the manifestation of Legba the Gatekeeper. Regrettably, a set of liner notes is warranted to explain its vast symbolism and metaphysical significance. Still, there’s enough here that leaves plenty to the imagination.

The disc is ceremonial in nature as a percussive array of scrapes, clanks, clacks, whistles and thumps submerges hypnotic rhythms deep into the soul. In the background, an eerie organ rides the chords and on “Le Grande Zombi,” a mumbly male voice delivers spoken word passages in African Creole English. But more often than not, the voices belong to the high priestess Miriam Chamani who seemingly subjects herself to tortured agony while beckoning the spirits to unite with her. Mysterious, initially disturbing, always entrancing, even for the layman unaccustomed to such ritualistic practices, there’s a journey here that’s hard to derail once it embarks.