Haitian band Lakou Mizik, part of WXPN's Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans project. Photo by Maxence Bradley.
WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania premieres a new radio documentary, Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans. The three-hour documentary series, hosted by Haitian American and New Orleans-based artist and musician Leyla McCalla, chronicles the history of Haiti and Haitian influences on the music, culture, and community of New Orleans.
The documentary includes interviews and music from Boukman Eksperyans, Paul Beaubrun, RAM, Lakou Mizik, Chico Boyer, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others, along with historical perspective and insights from experts on the history of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora.
Haitian musician Paul Beaubrun encapsulates the core of the project in this quote from the series: “In Haiti we have beauty, we have art, food, dance, music, and all of that keeps us through hard times. We came through slavery to make this world a better place and through the freedom to express this in the music, you hear the resilience, the rhythms, and it connects straight to New Orleans."
Premiering Monday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m., the series will broadcast via NPR throughout the month of February. Check your local affiliate for additional airings.