Posts Tagged ‘Pwezi anba Tonèl’

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 17-25: 4th Annual Soul of Brooklyn Week


SOB13Soul of Brooklyn Week brings together and celebrates the best of the borough’s  African Diasporan arts and culture while promoting partnerships between local arts organizations and black businesses in Brooklyn. Attracting over 20,000 attendees, Soul of Brooklyn Week features concerts, film screenings, plays, festivals, workshops, art activations and more! Click here to visit the official Soul of Brooklyn website.

Soul of Brooklyn Week Events:

Soul of BK Launch Event + Concert
The Soul of Brooklyn launch will feature a performance by Seattle-based hip hop collective, Shabazz Palaces. There will also be performances by electro dub-hop group abstract random, and tunes by THEESatisfaction’s DJ Sassy Black and Stas THEEBoss. Join us as we celebrate the Soul of Brooklyn launch with live music, vendors, art activations, and more.

Greene Ave and Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
2:00PM – 7:00PM

Tap + Cork Beer and Wine Festival
Tap+Cork presents the 1st Annual Brooklyn Beer & Wine Fest. Featuring local, regional, and national beer and wine shops, the festival will also include live entertainment, food, and tastings!

1428 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11216
1:00PM – 8:00PM

Brooklyn Jazz X Bed Vyne Brew
In partnership with the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, join The Jeff King Band and the Brandon Sanders Trio for a live performance. Meet us in Bed-Stuy, enjoy some live jazz, and sip local craft beers from Brooklyn.

370 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
7:00PM – 9:00PM

H Street is a comedic play that follows Frankie, the newest resident of the rapidly gentrifying H Street, any city, USA. Armed with a city grant to build a community center, she has dreams of building the perfect home for her new neighbors, but quickly discovers that it takes more than good intentions to unite a neighborhood. The play will be performed right on the outdoor stoop of Bill Lee, acclaimed musician and father of filmmaker Spike Lee.

165 Washington Park, Brooklyn, NY 11205
7:00PM – 8:30PM
Suggested donation

PATTERNS OF SUCCESS: Bridging the gap between art, creative freedom and  entrepreneurship
Presented by Jo-Na A. Williams, Esq. founder of J.A. Williams Law – The Artist Empowerment Firm, she will discuss the current trend towards entrepreneurship and the specific tools artists need to become masters at ruling their market and making money on their terms. Stay after the workshop for a meet-and-greet with the presenters, and enjoy cocktails, food and tunes by a local DJ.

417 Marcus Garvey Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11216
6:30PM – 10:30PM

MoCADA Makers: Trunk Show
MoCADA’s new trunk show series kicks off with the latest collection from Nigerian-American designer, Busayo Olupona. Complimentary refreshments provided.

80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216
6:00PM – 8:00PM

I Don’t Camouflage and MoCADA present an event hosted by M1 of Dead Prez. Featuring music by DJ Mike Flo, the night will be a fusion of music, dancing, lights, patterns, and colors and a celebration of our individuality and uniqueness. Come wearing pattern prints!

905 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
8:00PM – 11:00PM

The KIDflix Film Fest of Bed-Stuy

Come celebrate the 14th annual KidFlix Film Fest with a family-friendly films under the stars! This free film festival for kids and families is held every Friday night in August in Stuyvesant Heights’ Fulton Park.

Fulton and Lewis Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
7:00PM – 9:00PM

Black Weirdo is a party that calls for Blackness to be celebrated and appreciated in all facets on earth and beyond. Hosted by THEESatisfaction and bklyn boihood, the party will feature tunes by OC Note, Mursi Layne, and Chocolate Chuck.

622 Degraw St  Brooklyn, NY 11217
11:00PM – 4:00AM
Advanced Tickets: $10


Artists Sam Vernon and Rushern Baker IV will lead middle school and high school aged students in creating abstract and landscape collage projects!

80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217
1:00PM – 4:00PM
Suggested donation

HCX | Mizik Ayiti! Summer Concert
Haiti Cultural Exchange presents Kont ak Mizik Anba Tonèl: Ochan pou Mimi Barthélémy. Performers will share Haitian folktales and songs by the late Mimi Barthélémy, presented by Melissa Beauvery, Jennifer Celestin, Atibon Legba, Laura Simms, and music by Riva Nyri Precil.

558 St Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238
6:00PM – 9:00PM

Soul of BK X AFROPUNK Block Party

As part of this year’s AFROPUNK Festival, join us for the Soul of Brooklyn Week finale. The Block Party will feature DJs Rich Medina, Prince Paul, CX KIDTRONIK, and Mursi Layne. Check us for local Black owned business vendors of all types, art activations, and more!

Flushing Ave and Navy St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
1:00PM – 8:00PM

About Soul of Brooklyn: Soul of Brooklyn is a 32-member consortium of arts organizations with the mission of fostering collaboration between themselves and local businesses to bring arts programming to communities across Brooklyn.

About MoCADAThe Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) uses the visual arts as a point of departure for exploring new artistic production across a variety of disciplines. Through exhibitions and programming, MoCADA incites dialogue on pressing social and political issues facing the African Diaspora, and fosters a dynamic space for the creation and continuous evolution of culture.

Posted in Arts, Crafts, Dance, Events, Fashion, Film, HCX Collaborations, Music, Visual Art, Weekend, Youth Programs | Comments Off on August 17-25: 4th Annual Soul of Brooklyn Week

Archive: Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl


Check out this account of August 25th’s Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl at FiveMyles Gallery in Crown Heights, Brooklyn!

 « De la poésie avant toute chose » (Verlaine) 

Ceux qui pensent que la poésie n’a plus sa place dans nos sociétés surdimensionnées, hautement dominées par les technologies les plus pointues  ont dû peut-être se mordre les doigts samedi dernier 25 août à l’occasion de la manifestation culturelle mise sur pied par Régine Roumain et l’association « Haïti Cultural Exchange » qu’elle dirige à New York depuis trois ans environ. Régine – et je voudrais ici la remercier du fond du cœur pour cette soirée si captivante, si élégante – avait dénommé la manifestation « Pwezi ak Mizik anba Tonèl », titre hautement symbolique  pour  signifier  la résilience  de la musique et de la poésie capable de se nicher dans les endroits les plus inattendus même dans une société aussi technologiquement orientée que New York. Les dizaines de participants qui ont répondu à son appel ont prouvé que le monde de la poésie possède encore de longs et beaux jours devant lui, quoiqu’on en dise.

En effet, tout ce que New York compte – toutes générations confondues – de fervents de  poésie, de musique moderne, de culture haïtienne revitalisée en diaspora, s’était donné rendez-vous à 558 St. Johns Place, au cœur de Brooklyn, NY pour clôturer cet été 2012 qui a été si chaud. Ils n’ont pas été déçus. Il y avait de la musique, de la poésie, et surtout ce côté détendu, sympa, pas guindé pour un sou.

Après l’introduction  par  Dr. Millery  Polyne, historien et professeur à NYU, la soirée commença en musique. Elle était assurée par « Vo-Duo », composé du guitariste et chanteur Monvelyno Alexis et du percussionniste Markus Schwartz qui ont réussi un savant mélange de « Mizik Rasin », jazz et rock dans la bonne tradition de la musique sacrée du vodou haïtien. Puis vint le moment de la poésie. Tour à tour,  Jeffrey Dessources, Jean-Dany Joachim, Ibi Zoboi, Jany Tomba, Syto Cavé, Josaphat-Robert Large nous ont fait vibrer en lisant des extraits de leurs œuvres poétiques, riches, fortes, excitantes. Jeffrey Dessources  a intégré certaines bonnes vieilles  traditions culturelles haïtiennes dans sa poésie moderne, vigoureuse et décapante ; Jean-Dany Joachim a voulu flirter avec un lyrisme tout en retrait ; Ibi Zoboi que je connaissais davantage comme auteure de récit depuis son texte inoubliable dans « Haiti Noir » d’Edwidge Danticat (2011) a révélé un autre aspect de son talent littéraire tout en finesse et en délicatesse ; Jany Tomba a été  superbe et toute auréolée de  sensibilité et de conscience poétique ; Syto Cavé, à la poésie racée et d’une sensibilité rare, poignante, touchante, nous a émus par sa capacité à nous rappeler  notre destin éphémère ;  Josaphat-Robert Large, dont la présence  sur  scène n’a d’égale que sa poésie somptueuse, aux accents passionnés, nous  a rappelé que le grand art repose aussi sur un travail constant, quotidien sans lequel le talent risque de s’effilocher sans qu’on s’en rende compte.

Le grand moment de la soirée a été l’arrivée du poète national Anthony Phelps, introduit par son grand ami Josaphat-Robert Large. Dans son introduction, le poète et romancier Large a proposé de consacrer cette année de grâce 2012 au fameux auteur du recueil de poésie « Mon pays que voici » (1968) en la dénommant « l’année Phelps ». Je souscris avec enthousiasme à cette proposition puisque l’écrivain Phelps a marqué l’année 2012 de deux coups d’éclat, de deux « gestes », pour répéter le mot célèbre de mon ami le poète et collègue linguiste Robert Berrouet-Oriol. Le premier coup d’éclat a été le refus spectaculaire d’accepter une décoration présidentielle  afin de protester contre l’impunité  dont continue  à  jouir le dictateur Jean-Claude Duvalier, narguant sans remords au pays même tout un peuple que lui et son père ont tant fait souffrir pendant presque trente années,  le second coup d’éclat est le prix de poésie du 14ème Salon international du Livre insulaire de Ouessant, dans le Finistère, en France, qui lui a été attribué pour son livre « Nomade je fus de très vieille mémoire » (Editions Bruno Doucey, 2012), exactement une semaine avant son anniversaire.

Phelps, après avoir distillé un avant-goût de sa poésie à une audience déjà captivée, a procédé à la vente-signature du livre pour lequel le jury de Ouessant lui a décerné le prix de poésie, c’est-à-dire « Nomade je fus de très vieille mémoire », une anthologie personnelle de son immense œuvre poétique.  Il va sans dire que l’assistance s’est ruée pour acheter et se faire signer un exemplaire de ce texte littéraire. Nous ne manquerons pas quand nous en aurons terminé la lecture d’en rédiger une recension. Qu’on me permette de souligner le tact et le réalisme de Régine qui a pris le soin de mettre sur pied une manifestation trilingue anglais-français-créole, donnant ainsi aux trois langues comprises d’une manière générale par la communauté linguistique haïtienne d’être représentées au cours de cette soirée.

La soirée s’est terminée avec un gentil hommage rendu à Phelps par Régine et Haiti Cultural Exchange à l’occasion de son anniversaire de naissance. Je me joins à Régine et à son sympathique groupe pour souhaiter Joyeux anniversaire à notre poète national.

-Hugues Saint-Fort

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Archive: Pwezi Anba Tonèl : A Night of Haitian Poetry and Music


On Saturday August 20th, several artists and friends gathered at Five Myles  Gallery for “Pwezi Anba Tonèl: An Evening of Haitian Poetry and Music”. The space in which the event took place was alternative, innovative, and decidedly intimate.  The audience sat outside while the captivating artists performed in an open garage-like space. Throughout the evening, POEMobile projected texts from the poems on the wall of the gallery. La Troupe Makandal and Master Drummer Frisner Austin began the transformation of the space with the mystical sounds of percussion.  Their lengthy performance certainly set the tone of the evening, leaving the audience wanting more.  At any point during the evening, attendees were free to enter the indoor space of Five Myles Gallery to enjoy refreshments and peruse the newest exhibitions. After La Troupe Makandal, amazing poets Michele Voltaire Marcelin, Denize Lauture, Jennifer Celestin and Robert Josaphat-Large shared poems and stories on themes ranging from life and death, to love and identity.  Though each performer was unique and intriguing in her or his own right, the common theme was undoubtedly about the complexity of their Haitian/Haitian-American identities and the interplay of their identities with their lives.  It was clear that the audience wanted much more after the scheduled performances ended and they were satisfied when each of the performers returned for encore performances.  After the encore, all attendees mingled.  It was at the close of the event where I heard the most incredible responses calling the event “absolutely  enthralling”, “magical” and “amazing”.  I could not agree more.  “Pwezi Anba Tonél” was a stellar experience.

This event was brought to you by Haiti Cultural Exchange in collaboration with City Lore and Bowery Arts + Science.

-Written by Naika Apeakorang
Naika will soon be joining the HCX team as Communications Intern.

Posted in Archive, Arts, Events, HCX Collaborations, HCX Programs, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Poetry, Uncategorized, Weekend | No Comments »