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Aaron Lake Smith

Aaron Lake Smith makes fanzines and lives in Brooklyn. He has a website at

Down There: Trinidadian Mysticism in South Flatbush

I first came to the Orisha Spiritual Baptist Church to accompany a friend who had been attending for some time as part of research for his dissertation on Afro-Caribbean mysticism. His investigations into the Trinidadians’ religious practice had turned him from a bemused anthropological observer to an engaged participant, to the point where he had gotten baptized.

In Conversation

Phil Elverum with Aaron Lake Smith

The singular force behind Mount Eerie and the Microphones never skimps in his efforts or attention to aesthetic detail—Phil Elverum is prolific. Elverum’s newest release, Black Wooden Ceiling Opening, is a foray into dark, heavy music pounded out with the help of Jason Anderson and Kjetil Jenssen of the Spectacle.

Baye Kouyaté

The Malian percussionist Baye Kouyaté and I first met at a dinner where Bill Jensen and Margrit Lewzcuk were welcoming him back to Brooklyn from time in Tampa, Florida with his fiancée Annette and her two children.

In Conversation

Famoro Dioubate with Aaron Lake Smith

Famoro Dioubate is a Guinean balafonist descended from an 800-year-old lineage of West African griot, stretching back to the Malian king Sundiata Keita. The balafon is one of the oldest griot instruments, the African predecessor to what we refer to as the xylophone.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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