Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl – by Keylah Mellon, HCX Communications & Outreach Intern



The Kreyòl language has the imagination of a child: limitless. It paints everything vividly, musically and is full of emotion. It holds nothing back.

For our fifth annual Pwezi ak Mizik anba Tonèl, we paid homage to the poets that showed us the limitlessness of our mother tongue: Jòj Castra, Lionèl Trouyo, Jean Pierre Richard Narcisse…

After a great introduction by Wynnie Lamour, Director of the Haitian Creole Language Institute, the evening of inspired music and poetry  began with Andeyò: Drums & Chants from Rural Haiti with master drummers Jean Raymond “Sanba KebyesouGiglio, Zilibo, Markus Schwartz, and vocalist Geralda Dalestin.  A fitting and educational drumming set that took the HCX community back in time, to a period where Kreyòl was being brought to existence by the different African tribes transported to the island. Introducing each song with its historical background, the group taught us about the various rhythms so prominent in traditional Haitian music: Rada, Nago, Kongo and Banda.

The poets took the stage next. Delianov and Melissa Beauvery shook us with their readings of “M’ Gen Yon Kanmarad, Loray Kale” and some of their own writing. Schneider Laurent, with his own mash up of Franketienne, Georges Castera, Felix Morisseau Leroy, and many more, had us at the edge of our seats with a breathtaking theatrical performance.

The emotional intensity only escalated from there as pioneer of Kreyòl writing, poetry and literature, Jean Pierre Richard Narcisse came to the stage. He read a series of texts from the great Haitian poets and some of his own that extensively and intimately explored the various forms of basic emotions of human nature: anger, sadness, happiness… He then invited his wife and her endearing voice, Jasmine Narcisse, on stage to sing “Nan Katye Moren in accompaniment before ending his set in a powerful reading of an excerpt of his collection Recho etajè : Pa mande m’ poukisa m’bèt. The latter had our hearts in our throats and holding back tears.

The night ended on a melodious note with Pauline Jean and her band taking on beautiful, jazzy renditions of some of Haiti’s iconic tunes. Leaving the Shapeshifter Lab was a struggle, as we didn’t want her set to end.

Thank you to all that made this event as wonderful as it was and we can’t wait to bring you another event filled with what, in our opinion, runs through the veins of the world: art, rhythm and culture.

Thank you to our funders: ConEd, National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.

For photos click here.

Posted in Archive, Arts, Events, HCX Programs, Literature, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Photography, Poetry, Weekend | No Comments »

Krik? Krak! We Didn’t Want the Night to End – by Tassiana Larochelle, HCX Volunteer



Saturday July 25th, was one of those deliberately beautiful summer afternoons that simply demanded acknowledgement. The sun was soft and bright, the air cool and crisp with ever so gentle and consistent breezes that dared you to roam indoors. Thus, it was the perfect day for the HCX community gathering outside of Five Myles Gallery in Crown Heights for Krik? Krak!: An Evening of Music and Stories, part of the HCX Mizik Ayiti Concert Series.

The afternoon began with Haitian folk stories read by singer and artist Riva Nyri Précil. The children in the audience sat memorized, watching the beautiful lady with her fairy godmother-like presence, tell tales of mystical proportions set in a far and away yet somewhat familiar land. Riva’s stunning voice gave life to the songs and refrains from the various folktales: Tezen, mon ami mwen-zen. Tezen nan dlo, mon ami mwen zen – the story of a magical fish and a young woman’s love, and Ensel Badyo, a Cinderella-like tale. Following the stories, kids and grownups alike, were treated to songs from Précil’s new album, Perle de Culture. Curious passers by found themselves drawn by her renditions of “Damballah“, “Se Bon” and “Twa Fey”. As some of us surrendered to the music, others communed over refreshments of Prestige, Cola LaCaye and assortments of Haitian “Patés”.

The highlight of the evening, however, came by way of musical tour-de-force, Wooly Saint Louis Jean. The humble, jovial, giant of an artist known for putting the works of Haitian poets, such as Georges Castera and Syto Cavé, to song had come to town and wanted to collaborate with HCX. Director Régine M. Roumain wasted no time and was absolutely psyched to host one of the artist’s rare performances stateside.

Wooly, along with his trusty guitar, performed subtle, tender and sometimes melancholic songs. Above all, we jammed with him in nostalgia, euphoria and most importantly dance. He sang works of his own and sang works of his friends, throwing in some classics as he sought fit, at one point, even pulling up his young and timid daughter for a sweet and poignant father-daughter performance.

Perhaps it was the warmth of the audience or the inquisitive nature of the new friends coming off the sidewalks to join our gathering. Some might say it was the gorgeous weather and mischievous setting of the sun over perfect acoustics or maybe the power of the artist collective. I say it was all this and a more. Whatever the case, we all recognized the magic of the moment and not one of us wanted it to end.

Click Here to see photos of the event!

Posted in Archive, Events, HCX Programs, Krik Krak, Music, Weekend | No Comments »

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


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!

Posted in Archive, Arts, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Weekend | No Comments »

June 26th: Frisner Augustin Memorial Drum Festival


MakandalJoin La Troupe Makandal on Friday, June 26th for a night of music by new drummers inspired by legends such as Ti Kelep and Azor.

Now in its second year, the annual Frisner Augustin Memorial Drum Festival takes its inspiration from Makandal’s memorial tribute to the Master in June 2012, just months after his passing. The festival takes place at Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn, an elegant state-of-the-art concert hall dedicated to the celebration of music. The annual event, which aims to showcase the best of Haiti’s contemporary drummers, realizes one of Maestro Augustin’s long-held dreams.

Rele Ountò (Call the Sacred Drummer) 
Featuring Sanba Kebyesou, Fanmi Asotò, Rara Solojha, The Makandal Drummers with Taïna Ligonde, and a new video short about the legendary Ti Roro

DATE/TIME: Friday, June 26th | 8pm
LOCATION: Roulette | 509 Atlantic Avenue | Downtown Brooklyn | MAP
ADMISSION: General – $18 | Student/Seniors – $15 | $20 at the door.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Posted in Arts, Events, Music, Theater, Weekend | No Comments »

« Older Entries | Newer Entries »