Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Nubian Nene’s Crown Heights Creatives | Lakou NOU Recap


Happy New Year! We’re starting 2018 by reflecting on artist-in-residence Nadine “Nubian Nene” Sylvestre’s presentation of her project “Crown Heights Creatives.” The event concluded the Lakou NOU 2017 presentation series on December 22nd and sent us off into the holiday season motivated to breathe, move, and meditate on the impact we have on our neighborhoods.


Nene’s residency and culminating project was based on her belief that basic human services are things a city should provide its residents. In “Crown Heights Creatives”, Nene documents the personal perspective of residents on environmental justice and access to healthy public spaces. She assesses the Crown Heights community needs, raises awareness about the presence of local street farms, gardens and the availability of healthy foods, and engages the creatives of that community to share their skills, expertise and teachings towards collective action.

The event included live drumming and original music by Lakou NOU 2016 residents Okai Fleurimont & DJ Sabine Blaizin, a dance class taught by Nene herself, live painting by Haitian-American visual artist Madjeen Isaac, and a multi-media video and performance installation conceptualized by Nene for this residency. Photographer and videographer Richard Louissant helped to create the video installation, accentuating the way Nene’s movement reflected on space-based relationships and inheritance.

In her new performance piece created for the Lakou NOU residency, Nubian Nene pulls from her Haitian heritage, connecting the dots between Crown Heights, its residents, and herself – a Haitian-Canadian woman living in Brooklyn.  She danced in honor and in portrayal of Kouzen Zaka, the agriculture/harvest/hard worker lwa of Haitian Vodou. By doing this she further enforced the idea of community collective action and relationship to space.

NUBIAN NENE Lakou Nou Performance – Friday, December 22, 2017 from Richard Louissaint on Vimeo.

Find more photos from Nene’s event on Facebook by clicking here.


About the author:

Veroneque Ignace is a Brooklyn-based Haitian American community arts advocate and public health practitioner. She is the creator of Kriyol Dance! Collective and centers her work on community and individual wellness. Veroneque is an alum of Suny Downstate Medical Center: School of Public Health.

For more of her work: |

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Lakou NOU 2017: Canarsie’s Konpa Celebration


Glenda Lezeau, Lakou (1)

Glenda Lezeau (Canarsie) is a lover of all things Konpa from the keyboard solos to the dance moves. She is a piano player determined to shed a different light on Haiti by sharing the sounds of Haitian music along with its beautiful culture. Her passion for music strengthens and intensifies as she advances a movement of positive, inspirational music that is powerful enough to impact others. With over 20 years of training as a pianist and violist, Glenda has performed at many high profile venues, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, The Plaza Hotel and New York’s City Hall. She holds a diploma in Instrumental Music from Fiorella H. Laguardia High School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Canarsie’s Konpa Celebration is designed to celebrate the beautiful sounds of Konpa and Haitian Culture in a community that is historically Haitian and that lacks convening spaces so integral to building and sustaining communities. With a community dance fitness session, Konpa dance showcase, and special musical performance by the artist herself, Glenda Lezeau builds a celebration that uplifts Haitian music and dance while allowing people to come together as one. The event will feature Konpa music all throughout, catering by Fleurimond Catering, and special giveaways!

DATE/TIME: Saturday, November 18, 2017 | 4pm – 8pm
LOCATION: Happy Seniors Adult Social Daycare | MAP
611 East 76th Street | Brooklyn, NY 11236

Click here for the Facebook event page!


Posted in Dance, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Music, Uncategorized, Weekend | No Comments »

Mizik Ayiti 2017 Recap!



This year’s Mizik Ayiti Summer series kicked off with Lakou NOU + Mizik Ayiti on Friday, June 30, 2017. The evening featured a joint performance by pioneer Lakou NOU residents Sabine Blaizin, Rodney ‘Okai’ Fleurimont, and Veroneque Ignace, featuring musicians Jean Frenel Misere and Jean Montina of Kriyol Dance! Collective. The 2017 Lakou NOU Cohort was announced and Haitian-American songstress Mikaelle Aimee Cartright followed up with  a smooth blend of Haitian inspired folk and soul!


Congratulations to Jasmine Plantin, Diane Exavier, Nubian Nene, and Glenda Lezeau. Welcome to Lakou NOU 2017 and the HCX family!

Next up was a rooted performance by Fanmi Asòto, which took place on July 16, 2017. Fanmi Asòto (Family of the Mother Drum) was formed in 2014 to transmit Haitian traditions to future generations, through music, interactive workshops and activities in various aspects of Haitian culture.


The group transformed the garden with the songs and rhythms from Haitian Vodou.

The final installation in the Mizik Ayiti Series, Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonel, held on August 26, 2017 from 6-9pm at the Westbrook Memorial Garden, was nothing less than exceptional.

Jeffrey Dessources, aka MrJeffDess, a dynamic public speaker, author, emcee and professor of Haitian descent, hosted throughout the night and performed breathtaking and engaging poetic compilations.

This native New Yorker, known as the Disruptive Educator, is also the Co Founder of the educational platform, Trill or Not Trill. The company bridges the gap between popular culture and student development. MrJeffDess is the author of five books and has delivered lectures at over 25 universities, including Columbia and Princeton University, and has performed globally in Indonesia, Italy and South Africa. He has also been featured in Ebony Magazine, The Root and Urban Cusp Magazine.

His performance was complemented by Kreyòl poet Schneider Laurent, accompanied by Billy Midi and Rebecca Senat. The trio gave an energetic and riveting spoken word performance.

The night was topped off with music by Tiga Jean-Baptiste and his band, which featured Nkumu Katalay of the Life Long Band Project.

A special mention to Riva Precil & Bohio Music and DJ Sabine Blaizin for participating in the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust Open Garden Day, which took place on Saturday, September 16th from 4 to 6pm in the Westbrook Memorial Garden. The event was, in part, made possible by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, New York Council for the Arts, and The New York Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Jumaane Williams.

bohio music

Featured Artist Bio:

Born in Brooklyn, Riva grew up in Haiti where she studied music, folkloric and modern dance, art, and theatre under some of the most important teachers of their genre.  She obtained a degree in Music Therapy at Loyola University in New Orleans and completed a Music Therapy internship at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. Bohio Music, co-founded with musician Monvelyno Alexis presents a fusion of traditional Haitian Rasin music with jazz, soul and R & B. Check out this clip from their performance at B Side.



About the author:

Veroneque Ignace is a Brooklyn-based Haitian American community arts advocate and public health practitioner. She is the creator of Kriyol Dance! Collective and centers her work on community and individual wellness. Veroneque is an alum of Suny Downstate Medical Center: School of Public Health.

For more of her work: |

Posted in Archive, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Poetry, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Okai’s Drumming Exchange and Wellness workshop in Canarsie | Lakou NOU Recap


Okai is a percussionist and vocalist in several bands that are based in Brooklyn, all representing the music of the African Diaspora. As a lead vocalist and percussionist of Brown Rice Family, StringsNSkins and Underground Horns Okai is often on the road travelling to perform gigs all over the country and internationally.

As a Lakou Nou Artist in Residency in Canarsie, Okai created a workshop that incorporated his passion for drumming and his conscious eating lifestyle. This session took place on Saturday, November 5th  at the Brooklyn Theater Arts, South Shore High School.


In 2012 Okai started to adopt a more conscious diet.  He explained that making changes such as eating less meat, consuming less dairy, becoming more conscious of his sugar intake made a huge difference. He also began studying product labels more often and stayed away from ingredients he was unsure of or that were obviously detrimental when consumed.  Reading labels and doing research on ingredients also helped him to be a more conscious consumer because he started paying more attention to the companies he was supporting, he began to invest more in companies with a shared mission.

Okai has noticed a transformation in his wellbeing since making these changes “ I started noticing that I had more energy, more awareness, I dreamt better and I had better thoughts” he stated. Inspired by the positive results he achieved by making this change, he now aims to share this message with other musicians. Accordingly as an artist in residence, in our Lakou Nou Artist Residency program in Canarsie, he incorporated a health segment in his workshop. He invited Anthony a drummer and health specialist practicing in Queens, NY. During his segment, Anthony reiterated a lot of what Okai himself had learned on his health conscious journey including cutting out a lot of pasta, processed foods and items that used a lot of white flour.


Another unique aspect of this workshop is that it brought together both beginners and professional drummers. Okai’s Rhythm Exchange workshop featured three master drummers of Colombian, Puerto Rican, and Haitian background, which allowed for drummers of all levels to learn a new rhythm. Attendees learned Afro-Columbian drumming from Cumbia rhythms originated from the days of slavery in the late 17th century. We learned of the bass drum (tambora) a double -sided drum used to produce the deep bass rhythms; the Tambor Alegre a secondary mid-drum known used for backup rhythm and the small drum (lamador), which also provides the back beat. Afterwards Will Tucker presented Puerto Rican Bumba rhythm featuring the drumming style Leró used as accompaniment for dancers. Finally Jean May Brignol gave us a snippet of Ibo, Nago and Yanvalou rhythms from Afro Haitian drumming.

Okai’s workshop gave participants an opportunity to hear and experience how similar and connected Afro-Caribbean culture is, while also hearing the different tones that make the expression from each country unique and distinctive.

See photos of the event HERE!

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