Archive for the ‘Mizik Ayiti’ Category

Mizik Ayiti! with Taïna Cérat Ligondé and Alegba & Friends at the Way Station – by Keylah Mellon, Communications and Outreach Intern

07.22.15

In collaboration with the Prospect Heights Music & Arts Festival, Sunday, July 19th at the Way Station, Taïna Cérat Ligondé took us away on a short but charming musical journey.  For an hour, in the heat of the New York summer, we were transported to a land completely her own with various renditions of jazz music infused by the soul of Haitian rhythms and folks songs.  Her warm voice accompanied by the exhilarating sounds of Alegba’s bass and his lively, talented band filled the small bar for our first installment of Mizik Ayiti! in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.  The set ended with a beautiful rendition of the ever favorite “Kote Moun Yo” sending everyone out in a dancing mood and lightheartedness.

We thank all who attended this event and look forward to seeing you on August 22nd for Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl at the Shapeshifter Lab for an evening of poetry and music.

A special thank you to the funders of Mizik Ayiti!: Con Edison, National Endowment for the arts, The Department of Cultural Affairs & New York State Council on the Arts.

Click here to see the photos from the event!

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Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl – by Alain Balan, HCX Intern

09.04.14

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HCX held its 4th annual Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl on Saturday, August 23rd at FiveMyles Gallery. This annual performance has emerged as a seminal community event — one that has hosted renowned writers Syto Cavé and Anthony Phelps, Master Drummer Frisner Augustin, as well as emerging talents Melissa Beauvery and Riva Precil.

Traditionally held outdoors, the rain forced us inside but could not dim the energy in the room that evening. Catered by Cybille St. Aude, guests were offered delicious tastes of soup joumou, chicken skewers and pen patat while they mingled and shopped at the HCX Boutik.

Once everyone settled in, Shirley Skai and her band kicked off the night by presenting a mix of Haitian classics as well as some original songs. Her covers of Lauryn Hill’s song Ex-Factor and BeLO’s Lakou Trankil had the audience singing along, enthralled by Shirley’s beautiful voice and presence.

Jean Dany Joachim followed Shirley with a set of poems that were at times sober, and at others, passionate. One poem was dedicated to the chaos of the 2010 earthquake and the pain that has lingered in the hearts of victims and Haitians abroad. Jean Dany’s two year old son was also a highlight of the performance, joining his father on the mic.

Francie Latour offered us readings by René Philoctete and Michel-Ange Hyppolite. With a refreshing voice, Francie was able to hook the audience in as she read imagery-filled stories of raising her children in suburban Massachusetts.

M’CHOUKE

M’pa janm mande-m poukiasa m’ret isit?
Tankou m’pa mande-m poukisa m’respire,
M’dòmi,
Sa k’ fè m’ pale jan m’ pale ya ?

I’M ROOTED

Do I ever ask myself why I live here ?
Like do I ask why I breathe,
Or Sleep,
Or Speak the way I speak?

René Philoctete
Excerpt from Open Gate, An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry.

Before reading his pieces, Marc Anthony Arena spoke of Paul Laraque, his grandfather, as an influence on his poetry. Marc also read about themes relating to the earthquake with raw and genuine emotion. After the rain settled, the last performance was moved outside, where a rosebush by artist Sam Tufnell bathed the musicians in a mystical purple glow. Tiga Jean Baptiste’s set encouraged people passing by to stop and join the audience, taking in the beautiful sounds of Tiga’s skill. The didgeridoo, mbira, bass and guitar complimented his soothing and mellow performance.

This year’s Pwezi ak Mizik event was dedicated to our friend Mario Donnay who resided on St. John’s Place and passed away earlier this year. Special thanks to the performers, audience members, and HCX volunteers!

Jean Dany’s books of poetry can be bought at the HCX Boutik. Manman Zanfan by Denizé Lauture, a project of the Arena family for alphabetization in Haiti, is also available for sale.

Check out some PHOTOS and VIDEOS from the event and share this post with your friends.

See you at the next HCX event!

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Mizik Ayiti! was a success yet again! – by Alain Balan, HCX Program Intern

08.15.14

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Collaborating with the Brooklyn Museum on August 2nd as a part of their Target First Saturdays Series, vocalist Melanie Charles was the center of attention for an audience of over 300 people of all ages and with an interest in Haiti and Afro-Caribbean culture. Charles’ soulful voice and equally gifted band, Rat Habitat, vibed with the packed lobby, and excited the children who danced right in front of the stage. Unmistakable in her set was her Haitian pride, noticeably tying the nation’s flag to her microphone stand and speaking and singing in Kreyòl. Leading the engaged crowd in reciting the words “Sa Fè La Pèn” (that makes me sad), Charles took the audience on an emotionally beautiful ride, as the song tells the story of a mother who recently lost her child. Toward the end of her set, the vocalist brought out guest performers, including Haitian-American and Brooklyn based MC, Farrah Burns, as well as Tiga Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian-born multi-talented instrumentalist performing on the didgeridoo.

The Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series is an ongoing effort by Haiti Cultural Exchange to bring emerging musicians of Haitian descent to the forefront of the New York City performing arts scene.

We thank the Brooklyn Museum for this ongoing collaboration and look forward to seeing you at our next Mizik Ayiti! event on Saturday, August 23rd!

Continue to visit www.haiticulturalx.org for information on future events and check out some of the photos, courtesy of Richard Louissaint, HERE.

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Archive: Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy

09.09.13

Kont ak Mizik castThe finale of the 2013 Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series on August 24th at FiveMyles Gallery was a bittersweet evening under the Brooklyn stars. Directly following the opening reception of Haitians from the Diaspora: Creativity & Focus, the audience made their way outside. As the sun began to slip behind the clouds, the lights came on casting red and purple shadows that cloaked the stage in mysterious colors of tales yet told.

Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy offered up Haitian folktales and songs in tribute to the late Haitian folklorist. Born May 3, 1939 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mimi Barthélémy studied in France where she received a doctorate in dramatic studies. As a storyteller, actress, writer and director, Mimi lived abroad and performed in countless festivals and book affairs including the Suburban Blues Festival, the Caribbean Identity Festival at the Odeon, and the Conciergerie aux Rencontres Internationales du Conte.

Mimi’s journey began in 1979 where she worked with the Honduran Garifuna community to create a show in aimed at reclaiming their forgotten history. Mimi told her stories in French and Creole, performing either alone or with musicians in cultural centers, libraries, apartments, prisons and hospitals.

Throughout her theatrical career, Mimi received numerous honors including the Arletty Universality of the French Language and several national awards of France including the National Order of Merit, the Order of Arts and Letters and the Legion of Honor.

After selected recordings of Mimi Barthélémy, HCX Executive Director Régine M. Roumain gave a moving introduction to the evening’s performances. [Transcribed below]

“KRIK! [Audience responds ‘KRAK!’]

Tonight, we honor the work of the late Mimi Barthélémy who passed on April 27, 2013. We share her stories, her songs, her laughter, and her desire to ensure that Haitian oral traditions are kept alive.

Mimi worked and lived in Paris, France but traveled the world to share Haitian folktales. Through numerous books and CDs including Haïti Conte, Dis-moi des Chanson d’Haïti, La Reine des Poissons & Contes d’Haïti, as well as her most recent theatrical release Koute Chante, Mimi enthralled audiences with her voice, her wit, and her passion.

I had the opportunity to sit with Mimi in her beautiful home in Paris when HCX was founding out Krik ? Krak ! program fpr children. She was so full of anedotes about growing up in Haiti, witnessing the earthquake, her family… we spoke for hours. I left her home with a suitcase full of books and music and have greatly enjoyed sharing them with my two daughters and the great number of childrenand families who have participated in our Krik ? Krak ! Program over the years. I thank Mimi deeply for providing us with such treasures.

Her good friend and collaborator, Muriel Bloch, had this to say in an article recently published in French – « Tu restes au cœur de tant d’amis, grands et petits, a’ailleurs et d’ici. Mimi la Reine des conteuses, diva de la vie, Femme-Cararaïbe ardent et baroque, à tour épique et droilatique oscillant souvent entre le mervilleux et le tragique, femme tonnerre et femme tendresse » Mimi, you remain in the heart of so many friends, big and small– from near and far. Mimi the Queen of Storytelling, dive of life.

This evening, we bring you storytelling in Kreyol and Englush, as translated with care by my mother Maryse Roumain with performance by Melissa Beauvery, Jennifer Celestin, Atibon Legba, and Laura Simms and music by Riva Précil and Jean Mary Brignol. Tonight we bring you Mimi Barthélémy. Ochan pou Mimi.”

Following opening remarks, the talented traditional drummer Jean Mary Brignol performed a moving tribute. Kont ak Mizik then presented a series of folktales and songs that were captured from works and infamous renditions by Mimi including “Ti Fi & the Key to Knowledge” which was performed by Melissa Beauvery, “The Lady & the Three Beans” performed by Jennifer Celestin and Laura Simms, and “Bouki Dances the Kokioko” as performed by Atibon Legba and Jean Mary Brignol. The stories were followed by a special set of folk songs with Riva Nyri Précil and Jean Mary Brignol which had the audience dancing and singing along.

The audience departed into the cool evening night with a spark in their eye of memory, magic, imagination set wild in a world of selfish blubbering frogs, water spirit, talking fires, and the unfortunate sufferings of silly Bouki.

Mimi, èske ou te koute?

Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series and Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy could not have been possible without the contributions of our talented artists, supportive community members, and generous donors. Thank you.

A special thank you to these sponsors:

 

MA13 sponsor blok long

 

The 2013 Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

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