Haiti’s Orchestre Septentrional has been making music for 60+ years, blending Cuban big band and Haitian vodou beats. The 20 piece band fuses Cuban big band music and Haitian voodoo.
In 2012, a documentary about the group, When The Drum Is Beating, was premiered by Independent Lens. The documentary tells the story of Septentrional with that of Haiti: from the brutality of French colonialism and the bloody revolution that brought Haitians their freedom, to the crushing foreign debt and the 15 year American occupation that ushered in the brutal dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier. The documentary is powerful, and captures the band’s musical power and energy.
Below, watch Orchestre Septentrional live in a concert they performed in July 2020, and listen to a selection of songs on Spotify.