Words by and Marcha M. Johnson, Jesse Serwer and Natalie Weiner—
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Words by Jesse Serwer—
Out next week via Strut Records from the U.K., Haiti Direct is one of the first internationally available in-depth explorations of Haitian music from the early ‘60s through the late ‘70s, tracking the transition from the big band era to the compas explosion. In addition to early material from giants like Tabou Combo, Haiti Direct also sheds light on forgotten and lesser known footnotes like Les Loups Noirs, whose “Pile Ou Face,” from 1972 and the album Les Loups Noirs à New York, Strut have given us to “premiere.”
A few nights back the LargeUp + Okayplayer crew were invited to meet with Wyclef in NYC to talk ‘Clef’s just announced appearance at next week’s Sting festival in Jamaica, among other things ranging from classic dancehall clashes to Dave Chappelle.
As we stepped in the room, we couldn’t help but notice a homemade bottle of cremas which, it turned out, had been lovingly crafted by ‘Clef own aunt. For those that don’t know, cremas (or kremas, as it’s sometimes spelled) is Haiti’s extra potent answer to egg nog.
Words by Natalie Weiner— Art Basel, though legendary in the art world (and for the crazy parties that inevitably go along with it), is not necessarily known for its commitment to diversity. Miami is just one of the festival’s three locations, and especially given the extraordinary variety of cultures found there, the main exhibition is often surprisingly unrepresentative. Luckily, local Miami arts organizations that work to advocate for diasporic artists time some of their most exciting exhibitions to coincide with the festival.
The “Caribbean Fantastic” exhibit, for example, is taking place at the Multitudes Gallery whose curator Babacar Mbow specifically focuses on presenting art from around the African diaspora. This exhibit, which runs from December 3rd to January 2nd, is centered on Haiti and features Haitian artist Jean Claude Legagneur. Legagneur’s work uses bright colors and strong textures to show the many different faces of Caribbean and American culture, generally through intimate portraits. The show opens tonight, and naturally the gallery is throwing a party to celebrate – specifically, a “Night of Haitian Diplomacy” for Haitian, American, and Haitian-American art fans to eat, drink, and enjoy the paintings. It starts at 7:30 – check out all the details here.
Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Storm Saulter—
Easily one of the most influential rock bands of the last decade, 2011 Grammy Album of the Year winners Arcade Fire have turned to the Caribbean for inspiration on their latest release. The band, which includes Haitian-Canadian vocalist Regine Chassagne, spent time in both Jamaica and Haiti during the making of their new LP, Reflektor. Tracks such as “Flashbulb Eyes” and “Here Comes the Night Time” bear traces of reggae and Haitian rara: the latter was inspired by the plight of Haitian refugees, according to frontman Win Butler.