Apr 17, 2014
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Posts tagged: Haitians

LargeUp TV: Wyclef Talks Sting, Dancehall + Dubplates

Words by Jesse Serwer:::Video Shot by Allison Swank:::Edited by Kieran Meadows

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If you’ve followed Wyclef since his start with the Fugees, you know ‘Clef isn’t just a fan of dancehall, he’s a proper student of the culture. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Refugee Camp Sound president for a wide-ranging conversation on all things dancehall and Jamaica, ahead of his upcoming appearance at the 30th anniversary edition of the world’s greatest dancehall show, Sting.

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Haitian Christmas, 101: Drinking Cremas with Wyclef

Words by Jesse Serwer:::Video shot by Allison Swank:::Edited by Kieran K. Meadows— haitian-christmas-wyclef-cremas-2

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.

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Now Things: Arcade Fire’s Caribbean Journey

Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Storm Saulter—

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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.

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Sak Kafe: Haiti’s Kafe Kreyol is the Best Coffee You Never Tasted

Words by Jesse Serwer—

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Chances are, if you have never been to Haiti, you have never tried Haitian coffee. Unlike other coffee-producing regions such as Colombia, Jamaica and Indonesia, coffee growers in Haiti produce mainly for domestic consumption, not export. Though Haiti was the world’s largest coffee producer (in the late 1700s, when Haiti was the most profitable colony on the planet, it was responsible for something like half of the world’s coffee) making its coffee growers, by and large, never modernized their plantations to accommodate mass production. While this means less cash has trickled into the Haitian economy through the profitable industry (all of Haiti’s coffer is Arabaica, the high-quality bean used in gourmet coffees), the silver lining is that coffee from Haiti may be the most authentic in the world. “We kept the original tipica tree,” Douglas Wiener, the fourth-generation grower behind popular brand Cafe Selecto, said in this video interview. “When you drink coffee from Haiti, it’s like drinking coffee from 200 years ago.”

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You Rate It: Wyclef Jean’s “Bagay Nef”

Words by Jesse Serwer—

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“Bagay Nef,” an early leak off of Wyclef‘s upcoming The Carnival Returns mixtape, might be the most creative tune the Refugee Camp leader has given us in years. Delivered in kreyol, the track features an blend of uptempo kompa, trap/EDM beats and even some dancehall vibes, with vocal delivery that reminds us of one Vybz Kartel. Clef intermittenly namedrops “Dubstep,” so we guess that’s supposed to be in there too, though we don’t hear it.

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Friday Night Fetes: Big Night in Little Haiti

Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Luis Olazabal

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