The Creole Choir of Cuba is based in Camaguey and made out of ten musicians who, accompanied by light percussion, celebrate the history of Haitian descendants with a mix of songs in French, Creole and Spanish. Their first international CD was just released on Real World Records (a world music label based in Britain and owned by Peter Gabriel). The choir was presented at the Edinburgh Festival last summer and received to great acclaim. A review in The Scotsman went as far as to compare them to the Soweto Gospel Choir for their “cathartical emotion, dynamics and sheer technical bravado.” Below see the video promo for the album:
To contrast this slick world music production with contemporary footage of Haitian merengue as played and danced in Camaguey, please visit El Lugareño.
For a lot more on the musical relations between Haiti and Cuba, I recommend you listen to the extraordinary Afropop’s Hip Deep podcast THE FERTILE CRESCENT: HAITI, CUBA AND LOUISIANA, produced by Ned Sublette in 2005. Here’s the show’s description:
In 1809 the population of New Orleans doubled almost overnight because of French-speaking refugees from Cuba. You read that right, French-speaking refugees from Cuba — part of a wave of music and culture that emigrated from east to west in the wake of the Haitian Revolution. We’ll look at the distinct African roots of these three regions, and compare what their musics sound like today. In this Hip Deep edition of Afropop Worldwide, our colleague Ned Sublette, author of “Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drum to the Mambo,” will talk with Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, author of “Africans in Colonial Louisiana”. Produced by Ned Sublette.
CALENDAR: For more on the points of contact between Cuban and Haitian culture, you might want to attend the Bildner Center‘s ACROSS THE WINDWARD PASSAGE SYMPOSIUM, to be to be held on March 5th in New York City. The workshop features papers by NYU professors Ada Ferrer (“Cuban Slave Society in the Shadow of the Haitian Revolution”) and Sibylle Fischer (“Slavery and the Discourse of Universal Rights in Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela), and Washington University Romance Literatures Department’s chair Elzbieta Sklodowska (“Haiti and Cuban Oriente: Contact Zones and Zones of Silence”). For more details, click HERE.