Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Archive: Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy


Kont ak Mizik castThe finale of the 2013 Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series on August 24th at FiveMyles Gallery was a bittersweet evening under the Brooklyn stars. Directly following the opening reception of Haitians from the Diaspora: Creativity & Focus, the audience made their way outside. As the sun began to slip behind the clouds, the lights came on casting red and purple shadows that cloaked the stage in mysterious colors of tales yet told.

Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy offered up Haitian folktales and songs in tribute to the late Haitian folklorist. Born May 3, 1939 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mimi Barthélémy studied in France where she received a doctorate in dramatic studies. As a storyteller, actress, writer and director, Mimi lived abroad and performed in countless festivals and book affairs including the Suburban Blues Festival, the Caribbean Identity Festival at the Odeon, and the Conciergerie aux Rencontres Internationales du Conte.

Mimi’s journey began in 1979 where she worked with the Honduran Garifuna community to create a show in aimed at reclaiming their forgotten history. Mimi told her stories in French and Creole, performing either alone or with musicians in cultural centers, libraries, apartments, prisons and hospitals.

Throughout her theatrical career, Mimi received numerous honors including the Arletty Universality of the French Language and several national awards of France including the National Order of Merit, the Order of Arts and Letters and the Legion of Honor.

After selected recordings of Mimi Barthélémy, HCX Executive Director Régine M. Roumain gave a moving introduction to the evening’s performances. [Transcribed below]

“KRIK! [Audience responds ‘KRAK!’]

Tonight, we honor the work of the late Mimi Barthélémy who passed on April 27, 2013. We share her stories, her songs, her laughter, and her desire to ensure that Haitian oral traditions are kept alive.

Mimi worked and lived in Paris, France but traveled the world to share Haitian folktales. Through numerous books and CDs including Haïti Conte, Dis-moi des Chanson d’Haïti, La Reine des Poissons & Contes d’Haïti, as well as her most recent theatrical release Koute Chante, Mimi enthralled audiences with her voice, her wit, and her passion.

I had the opportunity to sit with Mimi in her beautiful home in Paris when HCX was founding out Krik ? Krak ! program fpr children. She was so full of anedotes about growing up in Haiti, witnessing the earthquake, her family… we spoke for hours. I left her home with a suitcase full of books and music and have greatly enjoyed sharing them with my two daughters and the great number of childrenand families who have participated in our Krik ? Krak ! Program over the years. I thank Mimi deeply for providing us with such treasures.

Her good friend and collaborator, Muriel Bloch, had this to say in an article recently published in French – « Tu restes au cœur de tant d’amis, grands et petits, a’ailleurs et d’ici. Mimi la Reine des conteuses, diva de la vie, Femme-Cararaïbe ardent et baroque, à tour épique et droilatique oscillant souvent entre le mervilleux et le tragique, femme tonnerre et femme tendresse » Mimi, you remain in the heart of so many friends, big and small– from near and far. Mimi the Queen of Storytelling, dive of life.

This evening, we bring you storytelling in Kreyol and Englush, as translated with care by my mother Maryse Roumain with performance by Melissa Beauvery, Jennifer Celestin, Atibon Legba, and Laura Simms and music by Riva Précil and Jean Mary Brignol. Tonight we bring you Mimi Barthélémy. Ochan pou Mimi.”

Following opening remarks, the talented traditional drummer Jean Mary Brignol performed a moving tribute. Kont ak Mizik then presented a series of folktales and songs that were captured from works and infamous renditions by Mimi including “Ti Fi & the Key to Knowledge” which was performed by Melissa Beauvery, “The Lady & the Three Beans” performed by Jennifer Celestin and Laura Simms, and “Bouki Dances the Kokioko” as performed by Atibon Legba and Jean Mary Brignol. The stories were followed by a special set of folk songs with Riva Nyri Précil and Jean Mary Brignol which had the audience dancing and singing along.

The audience departed into the cool evening night with a spark in their eye of memory, magic, imagination set wild in a world of selfish blubbering frogs, water spirit, talking fires, and the unfortunate sufferings of silly Bouki.

Mimi, èske ou te koute?

Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series and Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy could not have been possible without the contributions of our talented artists, supportive community members, and generous donors. Thank you.

A special thank you to these sponsors:


MA13 sponsor blok long


The 2013 Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

Posted in Archive, Arts, Events, HCX Programs, Krik Krak, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Poetry, Theater, Weekend | No Comments »

August 17: 6th Annual Haitian Book Day: Special Anniversary Event!


6e Journee du Livre HaitienThe 6th Annual Haitian Book Day  is celebrating 3-fold this year! Haitian playwright & poet Syto Cave will be the guest of honor of the 30th anniversary of CIDIHCA. In addition, the event will mark the 10th anniversary of Montreal-based publishing company, Memoire d’Encrier and 40th anniversary of the organizer of this event, le Centre N A Rive.

Learn more here.

DATE / TIME: Saturday, August 17, 2013 / 11am-6pm
LOCATION: Bistro Bouk’entrain, Centre N A Rive
6971 St-Denis, Montreal Map

Posted in Arts, Events, Literature, Poetry, Weekend | Comments Off on August 17: 6th Annual Haitian Book Day: Special Anniversary Event!

Archive: HCX Collaboration | 1st Annual Afro-Latino Fest


afro-lat fest 13On Saturday, June 29, HCX participated in the First Afro-Latino Festival of NYC.  Inspired by a desire to showcase the unity of African descendants throughout Latin America, the festival was produced by Garifuna-American community member Tania Molina and Mai-Elka Prado Gil, an Afro-Panamanian journalist, singer and performer.

Organized in conjunction with the Brooklyn Arts and Culture Fest, spearheaded by Atim Annette Oton of Calabar Imports, the festival showcased the talents of the Afro-Latino community and included several vendors selling clothing, books, and jewelry.  The festival also included a face painting activity for children and body paintings of traditional West African symbols.  Several community organizations were present, including Proyecto Afrolatin@, Black Latina Movement, and Yemaya Caribe.

Festival attendees were able to enjoy the dance and music of Hijos de Agueybana, Chief Joseph Chatoyer’s Garifuna Folkloric Ballet, Negros Americanos, DJ Sabine, Orisha Dances, and Nedelka Prescod.  Food vendors provided Afro-Panamanian and Dominican cuisine for the over 300 Festival attendees.  Haiti Cultural Exchange presented a spoken word and drumming performance by poet Jennifer Celestin, drummers Atibon Nazaire and Zilibo, and dancer Sita Frederick.

For a video of the performance presented by HCX, click here.

For more photos of the First Afro-Latino Festival of NYC, visit this link.

Posted in Archive, Dance, Events, HCX Collaborations, Music, Poetry, Theater, Weekend | No Comments »

Archive: Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert with Brother High


A Summer Solstice with Brother High
June 21, 2013


Now in its second year, HCX presented the up-tempo band Brother High for the first Mizik Ayiti! summer concert of 2013.  Presented in collaboration with FAB Alliance as part of Make Music NY, which occurs annually on the summer solstice, June 21st. Cuyler Gore Park in Fort-Greene, Brooklyn was a pleasant setting for an afternoon of music, children’s activities and community.

Brother High opened the concert with their infectious RARA music, which is typically played during Easter week in Haiti and features a combination of drums, metal trumpets & bamboo horns.   Children and adults joined in on the procession led by a large multi-colored flag and danced throughout the park, flowing to the rhythms of the musicians, over chalk drawings and between hula hoopers. A dazzling display of summer celebration! It was a hot day, the longest of the year, but the vibe created by Brother High set the tone for the remainder of the evening’s concerts, which included a rock band, funk group, and ended with the powerful sound of the Afro-Brazilian drums led by the all female troupe BATALA.

Check out a few pictures from the concert here.

The Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert Series was conceived as a platform for musicians of all genres to perform in NYC.  Often featuring musicians who may not have many opportunities to perform, the series occurs annually during the summer months.

Our next concert will take place on Saturday, July 20th and will feature guitarists Tit Pascal & Talie Cerin at FiveMyles Gallery. Click here for more information.

By Régine M. Roumain
Executive Director, Haiti Cultural Exchange

Posted in Archive, Arts, Events, HCX Collaborations, Music, Poetry | No Comments »

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