Miami’s Haitian Compas Festival

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Jacqueline Charles (Miami Herald) says, “Haiti canceled Carnival, but these artists are making it up at the Haitian Compas Festival in Miami.” It is important to note that the 21st Annual Haitian Compas Festival began on May 18 and continues through June 5, 2019. Those of you in South Florida still have another week to enjoy it. Charles writes:

Lately, life hasn’t been kind to Haiti’s konpa musicians. Their usually profitable summer and winter touring season both took hits thanks to the country’s deepening political crisis, souring economy and State Department travel warnings. Shows got canceled, promoters and artists had to return advances and then in March, the government canceled Carnival, making matters worse.

“Politics always interfere just at the moment when the country begins to have life, and we artists are always the first ones who suffer,” said Joseph “Ti-Joe” Zenny, leader of the Haiti-based group Kreyòl La, while noting that the “entire Carnival season was ruined.”

But while politically volatile Haiti remains in turmoil, Miami is not. And what that means is that konpa music fans can expect bands like Kreyòl La and other top Haitian musicians to bring it this Saturday when South Florida pays tribute to Haiti Flag Day, May 18, with the annual Haitian Compas Festival.

“Compas Fest is like a flag that says we still exist, the music still exists,” Zenny said. “That’s the ambiance we all will be bringing.”

Roberto Martino, lead singer of the band T-Vice, agrees. “With social media, you get to hear and see everything that’s going on at home all of the time,” he said. “It has an impact on everybody….and at the end of the day, we are all taking a hit.” “What I can say is that this year, a lot of people want to come to Miami,” he added. “A lot of people are tired of hearing all of the bad news about Haiti and this is a good opportunity for them to come out and see all of the bands.”

Maybe not all.

While this year’s festival will feature more than two dozen top Haitian bands, solo artists and deejays, there are a few noticeable absences. Former President Michel Martelly, who resumed his musical career as “Sweet Micky” with a 2017 appearance at the festival, is not part of this year’s line up. Nor are fan favorites Klass and dISIP, two bands that have had top konpa albums in recent years and are expected to release new albums within days of each other this week.

[Above: detail of photo by Ryan Cereijo.]

For full article, see https://www.miamiherald.com/miami-com/things-to-do/article230193339.html

 

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