Singer-songwriter and actress Malou Beauvoir introduces the music video for “Papa Damballah,” a song from Beauvoir’s album, Spiritwalker.
The song’s title — Papa Damballah — refers to one of the oldest and most venerated spirits of Haitian Vaudou. The great white snake and Creator of all life, Papa Damballah embodies virtue, wisdom, creation, and justness.
Speaking about the song, Beauvoir says, “I’ve always taken comfort in the guidance and visions they offered me. The spiritual aspect has always infused my music, but is now more evident, representing the essence of my sound, and is fundamental to all that I do.”
“Papa Damballah” petitions the spirit for shelter and counsel during circumstances of injustice. Originally recorded for Beauvoir’s album, Is This Love, the song appeared instead as the final song on Spiritwalker, and was chosen by director Suzan Beraza as the end credit song for her film MASSACRE RIVER: The Woman Without a Country, aired on PBS more than 1500 times since its release in 2019. The film highlights the difficulties of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
Born in Chicago to Haitian parents, Beauvoir grew up in New York with her brother Jean Beauvoir of Kiss and The Ramones fame. Later, at the age of 15, she attended the American University in Paris, where she engaged in her passion for artistry while earning her MBA, followed by entering the high-tech industry.
During the late ’90s, she focused entirely on singing and acting, performing around the globe: Dubai, Rio, Beirut, London, and Paris, where she was the lead singer at Paradis Latin. As an actress, Beauvoir’s roles include Stephen Frears’ Oscar-winning The Queen, along with Paul et ses Femmes, Christian Carion’s Farewell, and the Perception television series.
“Papa Damballah” opens on a sensuously undulating melody blending soul and Haitian folk savors riding a pan-African rhythm. A potent bassline and tumbling percussive fills imbue the rhythm with supple measured cadence.
Beauvoir’s deliciously sumptuous voice imbues the lyrics with creamy numinous flavors, underlined by the spoken word passage, where she thanks Papa Damballah for the spirits surrounding and guiding her through life.
The video, directed by Walu Mwalilino, depicts Beauvoir dressed in all white, the color associated with Damballah, in an exotic hallowed setting. Beauvoir exhibits the mystical power bestowed by the spirit of Creation, as an acolyte performs a sacred dance with an enormous snake, later cradled by Beauvoir.
Simmering with transcendent rippling energy, “Papa Damballah” swells on velvety tropical rollers, gentle, mysteriously alluring, and redolent with supernatural essence.