Drawing upon traditional vodou rhythms, compas, rock and R & B to create the Haitian musical movement dubbed mizik rasin (roots music), Boukman Eksperyans has re-emerged on the world stage to take their message of hope and survival in the aftermath of this year’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.
Listen[audio:http://media.rvanews.com/FolkFestival/audio/Boukman_FightLikeaMan.mp3|artists=Boukman Eksperyans|titles=Fight Like a Man]
- Haitian Mizik Rasin
- Port au Prince, Haiti
From the Dean’s Desk »
Haitian mizik racin (“roots music”) sprung up around 1987 after a long dictatorship when the people of Haiti were allowed to freely practice the vodou religion. Enter Boukman Eksperyans, who would let their music be shaped by vodou, African and Haitian rhythms, and American rock and roll, and would become national treasures and cultural symbols for suggesting an uprising against military coups d’etat. Like modern African music, there’s layer atop layer of percussion and vocals, and some ripping Hendrix-style guitar.
Boukman Eksperyans, one of Haiti’s most beloved musical groups, is carrying a message of hope and survival to the world in the aftermath of this year’s catastrophic Haitian earthquake. With a sound rooted in traditional Haitian music with its strong West African influences, but performed with rock instrumentation, Boukman Eksperyans has created a music that is modern yet proudly traditional.
Boukman Eksperyans first came together following the overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the early 90s. Led by the charismatic Theodore “Lolo” Beaubrun, Jr, it created a musical movement called mizik rasin (roots music). Drawing upon compas, a popular Haitian dance music, and Haitian Vodou, a religion of the African Diaspora with strong West African elements, the Boukman sound blends ceremonial drumming, chant and dances from the traditional Vodou with elements of rock and R&B. It also expresses the deeply-rooted Caribbean tradition of using music as a vehicle for social and political commentary.
Members of the Beaubrun family form the core of this 11-piece group whose joyous vocal harmonies, driving rhythms and passionate performances have engaged audiences around the world. For all its celebratory color on stage, the Boukman Eksperyans message is serious and spiritual. The band’s songs have long served as rallying cries against all manner of ills imposed upon the Haitian people. At the 2010 Richmond Folk Festival, the group will perform special sets of music focused on Haiti’s recovery process, and ask audiences to keep Haiti in their hearts and minds.
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