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Lakou NOU 2017: Each Body is a Miracle

10.19.17

Diane Exavier, Lakou

Diane Exavier (East Flatbush) creates performance events, public programs, and games that challenge viewers to participate in the active realization of a theater that rejects passive reception. She is also an arts educator with a pedagogy that focuses on creating reflective spaces for young people. Her work has been presented at Westmont College, California State University: Northridge, New Urban Arts (Providence), West Chicago City Museum, and in New York: Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, Independent Curators International, Medialia Gallery, and more. Her most recent play Good Blood was workshopped in residency with the Flea Theater. Her writing appears in Cunjuh Magazine, Daughter Literary Magazine, The Atlas Review, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind.

She uses her Lakou NOU residency to develop her original play Good Blood. With “Each Body is a Miracle,” Exavier delves deeper into some of the play’s issues and themes of immigration, partnership/intimacy, and health through social practice. She segments her project into three parts: 1) field notes, where she asks, what health issues are most affecting the lives and bodies of Haitian community members in East Flatbush today? 2) community crafting, where she’ll facilitate a floral crown making workshop, related to the Haitian traditional practice of plasaj, where participants of any age can attend and through a brief meditative   exercise, decide the conditions under which they want to live, and 3) reportage, an exercise in active dramaturgy, combining research and documentation with live performance. She aims to compile her field notes into a brief report on pertinent health issues facing Haitian residents in East Flatbush and create a photobook sharing portraits from the Community Crafting event. Both will be available to view and peruse at a final reading of Good Blood, the play that serves as inspiration to this entire residency.

Join us!

PART 2: Crown Crafting  

DATE/TIME: Thursday, November 9 | 5:30-7pm
LOCATION: East Flatbush Branch Brooklyn Public Library | MAP
9612 Church Ave | Brooklyn, NY 11212

RSVP to the Facebook event for Part 2 here!

PART 3: A Staged Reading of Good Blood

DATE/TIME: Saturday, December 9 | 7-10pm
LOCATION: Brooklyn Fete | MAP
1515 Nostrand Ave | Brooklyn, NY 11226

RSVP to the Facebook event for Part 3 here!

 

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Posted in Archive, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Literature, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Lakou NOU 2017: Canarsie’s Konpa Celebration

10.17.17

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
ADMISSION: Free Entry

Click here for the Facebook event page!

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

Mizik Ayiti 2017 Recap!

10.12.17

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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: www.veronequeignace.com | instagram.com/_kriyoldance_

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

Rediscovering Art, Culture, and Heritage: Stanley Delva, Communications Intern

10.11.17

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My interest in joining the Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) team began with my first trip to Haiti during the Spring of 2017. As a Haitian American, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the prospect of finally getting to visit my “Motherland” was exciting. Despite being there only four days, I was able to immerse myself in the culture and history of Haiti in a way much better than reading content online or out of a book. I was able to touch and see the colorful buildings my relatives lived in, to smell the poultry being cooked with fresh vegetables on the road and through the windows of homes, and to hear, first hand, the language, music, and movement of my people. Being in Haiti completely changed my understanding of the culture.

On my return home to Brooklyn, I was looking for ways to reengage with the energy I felt while in Haiti and also rediscover my appreciation for art. Whether it be through drawing, writing, or filmmaking, I searched for ways to continue being influenced and inspired by Haitian art while home in NYC. My search led me to find HCX, whose focus on the cultural appreciation of Haitian art and artists of the diaspora fell right in line with my interest. Being in the presence of individuals who strive to preserve and promote Haitian art improves my relationship with the culture and my heritage. Joining the team gives me the opportunity to further immerse myself in the arts while being inspired by my culture and learning how to interact with the community in impactful ways.

With my graduation from Brooklyn College approaching this fall, I would like to be able to take what I learn here and apply it to my future in a meaningful way. I hope the programs and initiatives by HCX can inspire me to use my English degree creatively in diverse spaces. The programs implemented by HCX help to bring together people in the diaspora by spreading their stories and positively impacting communities in ways they may not have been able to do on their own. I am excited to see how these artists use their mediums to shape their own creative voices and create a dialogue around Haitian culture. In joining the HCX team , I look forward to pushing both the organization and myself to grow in ways that will continue to benefit the community.

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