Kanaval

The Music of Haiti: On Stage at The Kennedy Center

In May, 2019 The Kennedy Center presented a program of Haitian music on the center’s Millennium Stage.

Haitian culture combines a wide range of influences drawn from the many people who have settled this Caribbean island nation. It reflects French, African, native Taino (one of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean), and Spanish elements. The country’s culture is a blend of the tradtions of these groups and others who have inhabited the island of Hispaniola—the island Haiti shares with its neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Haitian music is a rich mingling of these influences from the nation’s history as well: European styles and instruments introduced through colonization, and African rhythms and song structures, brought by slavery.

In the video above, watch the featured performers including Haitian artists Felina Backer, Tabou Combo, Azor, and Reginald Policard.