Archive for the ‘Public Forums’ Category

Archive: An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with filmmakers Rachèle Maglorie & Chantal Regnault

03.20.14

March 15, 2014photo

Since 1996, the United States has implemented a policy of repatriation of all foreign residents who have been convicted of crimes. As a new life begins for these deportees in an environment that is completely unfamiliar and quite hostile, filmmakers Rachèle Magloire & Chantal Regnault decided to document the stories of Haitian outcasts: the deportees from North America.  Winner of the Best Documentary & Human Rights Award at the 29th International Film Festival Vues d’Afrique and at the Festival Régional et International du Cinéma de Guadeloupe, Deported follows the lives of American and Canadian deportees now living in Haiti.

Rachèle traveled from Haiti and Chantal from Paris, as part of our An n’ Pale|Café Conversation series, for the NY Premiere of the film.  Haiti Cultural Exchange in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library’s Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture screened the film which was followed by a lively discussion on immigration policy and advocacy with the filmmakers.

“Deportees are generally frowned upon. And at many times, the highest authorities have associated them with waves of crime in the country. It has reinforced the sense that the deported citizens are actively involved in Haiti’s criminal life.” – Rachèle Magloire

Because of sentiments shared by public officials linking deportees to the rise of kidnappings in the early 2000s, the filmmakers credit the Haitian public’s fear with a distorted image of deportees and their needs.

Activist Joceyln McCalla joined the filmmakers to discuss what current efforts are being made to assist this invisible community. Organizations like Alternative Chance/Chans Alternativ  are working to bring deportees much needed legal, medical, and rehabilitation assistance.

Watch the trailer HERE.

For more information about the film and an in depth interview with the filmmakers, visit Kreyolicious.com

 

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Archive: An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla

02.28.14

Photo Credit: Jocelyn McCalla

Photo Credit: Jocelyn McCalla

Celebrating the launch of Leyla McCalla’s debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, HCX collaborated with BRIC’s Stoop Series, to co-present An n’ Pale|Café Conversations. To a packed house of over 150 people, Leyla regaled the audience with renditions of Haitian folk songs such as Mèsi Bondye, Manman Mwen & Latibonit as well as arrangements based on Hughes’ poems. Leyla’s music is a blend of Haitian and New Orleans folk music coupled with her distinct vocals and noted talent on the cello.

Following the inspired performance, Leyla and HCX Executive Director, Régine M. Roumain, discussed McCalla’s current tour, experiences abroad, her upbringing, and the work that went into creating her first album.

When asked about research for the album, Leyla mentioned listening to Alan Lomax’s recordings, a 10 disc and two book boxed set collected during his 1936-37 trek through Haiti, and meeting with her parents to discuss songs, their meaning, and working with her father to translate the songs from Haitian Creole.

Currently residing in New Orleans, Leyla continues to be inspired by the music of the region and collaborates with local musicians to create her unique sound. A rising young artist on the scene, Leyla is becoming increasingly well known as her work continues to receive outstanding reviews. We are thrilled to have been a part of this evening!

Take a look at some photos from the conversation & performance here.

Purchase McCalla’s debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, can be purchased here.

This An n’ Pale | Café Conversation took place on February 11, 2014 at BRIC in Brooklyn.

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Arts, Events, HCX Collaborations, HCX Programs, Music, Public Forums | No Comments »

Archive: Haiti Noir 2: The Classics with editor Edwidge Danticat & contributing author Michèle Voltaire Marcelin

02.09.14

Photo Credit:Jocelyn McCalla

Photo Credit: Jocelyn McCalla

To a packed room of eager enthusiasts, Edwidge Danticat introduced her latest editorial work, Haiti Noir 2: The Classics published by Akashic Books as a study of not just the Noir genre, but of a “Noir” people, approaching the collection as it applies to the Haitian people and our culture that is packed with myth, truth, and all the experiences in between. Seeking to use this edition of Haiti Noir to elaborate on the layered concept of Haitian literary “classics,” Edwidge mixed canonic and contemporary voices, controversial and well-known cultural themes to create a dynamic collection of stories.

Danticat read selections from several short stories in the anthology, including a passage from “A Strange Story” by Ida Faubert and “Preface to the Life of a Bureaucrat” by Jacques Roumain. Contributing author & poet Michèle Voltaire Marcelin brought her ever-cool personality to the stage for an anything-but-cool passage from her short story “True Life” which tells a seductive tale of a couple’s infidelity, leaving everyone a little hot under the collar. “I think she melted the mic!” Edwidge exclaimed as she joined Marcelin for the post-reading Q & A.

Watch Edwidge Danticat & Michèle Voltaire Marcelin read from Haiti Noir 2: The Classics

Most of the participant questions revolved around the authors’ processes for capturing their narratives. When asked how they knew when a story was good enough to tell, both authors had similar responses:

“When you have no choice but to tell it”          “When you can’t stop yourself”

-Danticat

-Marcelin

Marcelin described these stories as rarely “pretty,” cutting close to the bone and revealing parts of one’s self that may be painful but must be shared.

Tying these ideas into questions of finding a distinct voice as a Haitian woman while supporting the integrity of a country with so many issues such as Haiti, the authors saw only one answer: The Truth. Remaining conscious of larger issues impacting Haiti while writing lends itself to chasing deeper narratives that capture context and also helps to expand one’s voice.

Very true to the Noir genre, Danticat and Marcelin left us all remembering that the best story is never a straight line.

Thank you again to Akashic Books and the Brooklyn Public Library for collaborating with us on this fantastic event.

This reading and discussion of Haiti Noir 2: The Classics took place on January 16, 2014 at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Center.

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Archive: An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with Emeline Michel

01.27.14

emelineHCX-9098

The iconic Emeline Michel joined HCX for our An n’ Pale| Café Conversation on a rainy December evening where over 80 guests gathered to hear about her life’s work. Emeline was calm and composed, exuding an air of familiarity and friendliness as Executive Director Régine M. Roumain and the audience posed questions about her progression from church choir singer to international Haitian songstress.

Describing an early life full of music, Emeline recounted the transition from singing in her local church to hearing herself on the radio. The audience seemed particularly interested in how Emeline understood herself as a celebrity in Haiti and its Diaspora while attaining such cross-over appeal.

“[You must] understand what you owe when you have a mind.” Emeline, in one profound moment offered her opinion on the source of her dynamism as a performer, citing the importance and power of what we put out there, particularly when one has the added weight of celebrity.

This is something Emeline most definitely abides by. As the conversation continued, she described the numerous projects that she has become involved in during her career. Two of these include using the arts to foster creativity for incarcerated women and at-risk youth.

Emeline was asked about her own path to success as not only a Haitian musician, but a female one at that. She understood her family’s support was critical to her achievements, as well opportunities to study and obtain the training she needed as a musician. Emeline’s advice to emerging musicians? Do the footwork, find out who is on the music scene, and understand who you are as a musician. “You don’t sing because it’s pretty, you sing because there’s something burning inside you.”

One distinctive marker of Michel’s career is her continued support of young and emerging artists entering the performing arts scene in Haiti. Michel has been working with a group of men and women through workshops at FOKAL and allowing these talented young vocalists to open for her concerts in Haiti. This presented another important aspect of building a career as a Haitian musician – sharing the limelight as a way to bring us all up together.

At the end of the conversation and animated Q & A session, Emeline graced us all with a few songs including her hit “Mèsi Lavi” from her latest album Quintessence and a touching tribute to the late leader and activist Nelson Mandela, “Beni Yo,” accompanied by the internationally-acclaimed guitarist Makarios Césair.

Purchase Emeline’s latest CD Quintessence on Itunes or Amazon.

Take a look at a few photos from the evening here.

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