KRIYOL VODOU BAND:
MAKING MUSIC, KEEPING TRADITION
Kriyol Dance! Collective is deeply sustained by its connection to Haiti’s drum traditions and the musicians who have helped support it here in Brooklyn and abroad.
Kriyol Vodou Band is the official musical ensemble of Kriyol Dance! Collective. The group is working to develop a fusion sound which focuses on creating a unique, creative, artistic bridge between Haitian traditional rhythms and the polyrhythmic variations of contemporary Haitian roots sound.
The issues we seek to address are three-fold:
The lack of awareness within the Haitian community about the challenges Haitian immigrant musicians face.
The disconnection between Haitian people that have been raised here and Haitian immigrants.
The lack of visibility of Haitian culture in Brooklyn, NY for people who have never experienced it.
We have addressed this concern since our founding through free drum classes in Prospect Park, performing with and supporting Haitian raras like Djarara and Plezi Rara through our artist networks, presenting Rasin Okan – Brooklyn’s only rasin/roots band founded in 1999 by three current Kriyol Dance musicians, and creating new music with Kriyol Vodou Band.
In our work, we seek to show people that music and dance are one in the same – they share the same power to bring communities together, to hold traditions, and to teach lessons. Still, in our experience, there is a tendency in Brooklyn, and especially in Flatbush, within the arts and culture community, to overshadow the work and experience of Haitian immigrant musicians who maintain our culture and musical talent in a place that is unfamiliar, and, in a place that is already hard enough to navigate. Music is seen as just a tool for entertainment and not as the thing that helps people and artists keep personal care.
The goal is to take community members through the experiences of Haitian immigrant musicians in Brooklyn to bridge a gap between Haitian-American people, those who are interested in this culture, and these musicians themselves.
Throughout the 2019 creative season, we will highlight the role of Haitian immigrant musicians as culture-bearers through drum intensives, deep conversations with musicians, and a Haitian roots music concert.
Our group won a 2019 Neighborhood Grant from Citizens Committee for New York City! We join nearly 300 grassroots groups across the city working to build community and improve our neighborhoods.
Learn more about Citizens Committee: www.citizensnyc.org
The project features a series of events focused on highlighting Haitian music and discussing the Haitian immigrant experience. Programming included two intimate garden talks about local Haitian musicians' lives, various dance and music workshops which emphasized traditional and contemporary Haitian rhythms, and two public outdoor performances of differing scale.