With 'Simido', Moonlight Benjamin, a Haitian vocal powerhouse, already presents us with our first real musical highlight of 2020! Just like her previous album, 2018s 'Siltane', Moonlight once again named this album after a fictional character to whom she directs her songs. Furthermore, 'Simido' is also the name of the character who traditionally leads the voodoo rituals in Haiti. Benjamin's birth story reads like a Stephen King novel. Her mother died in childbirth, something which in superstitious Haiti quickly led to mass panic and large prayer services, eventually forcing her father to leave his newborn daughter at an orphanage. There she was taken in by Reverend Doucet Alvarez who immediately declared: "If she stayed alive, there is certainly a reason. I will call her Moonlight; a light which will light the future! I will adopt her as my daughter.". Perhaps not surprisingly, Moonlight's musical career started as a gospel singer with the local church choir, even though the singer now admits she only found true spirituality when she got acquainted with Haitian voodoo: "Voodoo rhythms and songs are like the umbilical cord that connects the western part of the island of Haiti to the womb of its people, Africa.". In her late teens she crossed paths with singer and guitarist Tines Salvant, who soon invited her to collaborate on his debut album 'Kè'm Chavire', opening up a whole new musical universe for Benjamin. Later, collaborations with, among others, guitarist Max Aubin and author Jean-Claude Martineau, followed, but when the latter passed away, Moonlight's profound grief also acted as a catalyst to leave the island and settle in France, where, after a while, she found a musical soul mate in guitarist, composer and producer Matthis Pascaud, who shared her passion for raw blues and rock and, like her, is proved an avid fan of the music of Arctic Monkeys. The songs on 'Simido', all sung in Haitian Creole, revolve around her hopes and dreams for the Haitian people who have endured so much, and were written during a two-year long period of almost uninterrupted touring and the accompanying long nightly bus rides. In 'Nap Chape', the first single from the album, she denounces the often-miserable living conditions of the average Haitian and points the finger at the ruling class for their laxity and indifference. With title track 'Simido', the singer brings a message of hope and liberation and calls on her compatriots to think carefully about their actions in order not to end up in the same hopeless situation over and over again, and with 'Pasay', in which she calls on angels and spirits to assist the Haitian people, and closing track 'Kafou', a tribute to traditional Haitian music and voodoo culture (Kafou, an incarnation of Papa Legba, is one of the most important Loa's in Haitian voodoo culture), Moonlight brings out her spiritual side. 'Simido', once again proves Moonlight's nickname "the Caribbean Patty Smith" is well deserved. Sturdy, but highly recommended Haitian voodoo blues rock!