“Suite Folklorique Haitienne”

The music you hear is Fritz Bernardin’s ‘Suite Folklorique Haitienne’. It honors his late father, Bertrand Bernardin, whose love of Haitian culture and music deeply influenced Fritz’ career.

Suite Folklorique Haitienne:⁣⁣⁣ Written in three parts, the suite invokes the sacred vodou number, twa (3)⁣⁣⁣ and takes us on a dream journey as the soul-spirit ascends outside the body to the world beyond, drawing us out of our interior, individual selves into a vibrant, collective, world invigorated by the spirit.⁣⁣⁣

Click on the artwork to listen.

The first piece, Vwayaj,⁣⁣ tells the story of the soul-spirit, in a dream state, moving out of a lifeless, hopeless kò⁣⁣ vid (empty body) on a journey to the world outside. Mixing classical rhythm and Haitian rhythms, Bernardin creates a yanvalou-mix⁣⁣ rhythm, drawing on the delicate fluidity of the yanvalou to express the movement of the spirit as it begins the journey. ⁣⁣⁣

Screenshot 2020-07-13 13.24.22In Lespri, the second one, the soul-spirit, having journeyed out of the body, confronts the world outside. Free from the suffering of confinement in the body, the spirit expands and extends, experiencing a world rich with possibility and hope. Bernardin uses the ibo rhythm as the rhythmic base to indicate a sense of rejoicing as the spirit makes its discovery.

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The third and last one is Dans. In Dans, the soul-spirit, having rejoiced at the discovery of an expansive, life-giving material world outside the grim, ko vid it inhabits, decides to unite the hope and possibility of the world outside with its bodily home. Using the haitian merengue rhythm, the soul-spirit dances a duet between the two worlds, bridging the divide, reconciling human hopelessness with the spiritual promise for a better world.

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Fritz Bernardin is a Haitian musician, composer and educator. Stage-named Benviola,  Fritz is recently featured in the award-winning documentary, Serenade for Haiti, and is currently completing his first album which blends historic Haitian rhythms, classical influences, and contemporary sounds to reflect the diversity of Haiti’s musical culture and identity. He is also a tenor section leader for  the Canterbury Choral Society in NYC.

Find out more about Fritz’s work by following his channels: Instagram | Facebook

Artwork by Marie Saint-Cyr⁣⁣