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


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


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!

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 3:41 pm and is filed under Archive, Arts, Events, HCX Programs, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Poetry, Weekend. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.