Chita Tann Bon Mambo (Mambo Tamara or Mambo T) has taken the asson (been initiated as a mambo asogwe in Haitian Vodou) twice: the first time in July 2001 within a U.S.-based Vodou sosyete with a satellite peristyle (Vodou temple) in Jacmel, Haiti; and the second time in January 2006 with a native Haitian sosyete with peristyles in Port-au-Prince and Petionville, Haiti and Long Island, NY: Sosyete La Fraicheur Belle Fleur Guinea, headed by Mambo Marie Carmel.** At the direct request of the Lwa Ogou Badagris, Mambo T has served as Mambo Marie’s konfyans kay (house counselor/assistant) in the Belle Fleur Guinea lineage since July 2007.
Mambo T’s January 2006 kanzo was held at Sosyete Sipote Ki Di, a historical Port-au-Prince peristyle jointly administered by Mambo Marie Carmel and Mambo Fifi Ya Sezi. At her baptism Mambo T was honored with the public name Chita Tann, a name passed down through several mambos in the house’s lineage.
Mambo T has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, published author, and lecturer on African religions, and is a professional Egyptologist as well as the spiritual leader of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith (a modern form of Ancient Egyptian religion) in addition to her work in Haitian Vodou. She considered Vodou not to be her religion, but a magical practice in honor of her Haitian and native American ancestors, and her students come from all races, religions and walks of life.
La Sosyete Fos Fe Yo We (“Strength Makes Them See Society,” formerly La Sosyete Kouwone Andezo) was founded in 2001 to accommodate Mambo T’s altars and a growing number of initiates and students, and was re-dedicated under its new name on 19 March 2006. The sosyete’s home temple (houmfor) is located at Mambo T’s home in Illinois and sponsors the Legba’s Crossroads website and the Crossroads Store as well as the sosyete’s personal website. Membership in La Sosyete Fos Fe Yo We is by invitation only.
**Mambo Marie Carmel is a well-known Mambo inside and outside of Haiti. She maintains residences in New York and Haiti and has more than 30 years of experience in Haitian Vodou, having taken the asson at age 18 from Mambo Jacqueline Anne-Marie Lubin, herself an initiate of the famous Kitonmin Bon Mambo of Bel-Air (Mambo Felicia Louis-Roman), the chief priestess of Haiti’s first asson lineage founded in Port-au-Prince in the 1920s.
Mambo Marie’s house, Sosyete La Fraicheur Belle Fleur Guinea, honors both the asson and non-asson lineages of Haiti. Mambo Marie first became involved in Vodou at age 7 and received training from her father’s asson lineage and her mother’s non-asson, Kenscoff tradition (primarily Kongo/Ibo and Taino Indian in orientation). Mambo Marie has also traveled to West Africa and initated into various secret societies of Abomey. In Haiti, Mambo Marie currently shares a peristyle with Mambo Fifi “Ya Sezi,” the chief mambo of Sosyete Sipote Ki Di, a very famous Vodou temple located near the National Palace in Port-au-Prince with a 50+ year heritage. Mambo Ya Sezi’s large urban peristyle, painted a vibrant deep blue and featuring huge murals of the Lwa, has been featured in a number of documentaries and books about Haitian Vodou. A new Haitian peristyle for the use of Sosyete La Fraicheur Belle Fleur Guinea and its daughter societies is currently under construction in a tranquil mango grove outside Petionville.
Mambo Marie is a highly-respected mambo in the New York community was well as in her native Haiti. Her reputation has carried her to clients all over the world, and the services she holds attract hundreds, who pack her peristyle to hear her singing and the excellent drum work of her friend, Houngan and master drummer Frisner Augustine and his Troupe Makandal. Mambo Marie is a full-time mambo and the owner and operator of Mt. Carmel Botanica in Freeport, NY.
((Many thanks to Casa Alta Gracia for help with Mambo Marie’s biography)).