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In Downtown Miami, our Focus On Puerto Rico residency program is in full swing. 

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Djarara Live on J'Ouvert Night 2015



Djarara is the premier rara experience in Brooklyn and perhaps the entire United States. Founded in 1996 to preserve this Haitian tradition within the diaspora community, the band has become ambassadors for rara culture, and has now brought this Caribbean roots music to cities and venues throughout the United States. In the summers, some or all of the members can often be found jamming on weekends in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, also the scene of this midnight recording, made on J'Ouvert Night, the eve of Brooklyn Carnival, Labor Day 2015.

In Haiti, traditional rara is fundamentally a religious or ritual observance, a kind of ambulatory vodou ceremony that is part festival and part obligation to the spirits. It is rarely played outside of the Lenten period leading up to Easter. Djarara, however, and many raras in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere, now perform in a more carnivalesque spirit on a more relaxed schedule. While this recording features a small opening ceremony before the rara marches out, it is essentially a pre-party for the West Indian Day parade, held along Eastern Parkway every labor day. On this very important day for the entire Caribbean diaspora, Djarara was joined by members of two important raras from Miami, Kriz Rara and Rara Lakay. Before we had even left the park the crowd had swelled, by best estimates, to two or three thousand.

The music and recorded festivities in this program are interspersed with conversation between Richard Fleming and General Dadou, one of the founding members of Djarara, held at Dadou’s apartment in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, over a splendid fried fish and a cold bottle of Prestige beer.
 

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Ghetto Biennale: Radyo Shak

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Radyo Shak was the independent broadcast voice of the Ghetto Biennale lakou 2015. Based in a shack in the Grand Rue Atis-Resistans compound of Port-au-Prince, Clocktower Radio's Radyo Shak broadcast Haiti's biennale happenings, from December 10-21, 2015. Radyo Shak Program Director Richard Fleming and Radyo Shak Project Director Jake Nussbaum hosted freeform radio in the bidonville, including Rara bands, interviews with locals, artists and writers, project updates, and Haitian revolutionary history over FM radio, Internet radio, and analog broadcast amplified through speakers and PA. The Kreyòl language programming from the Radyo Shak is available here: Geto Byenal: Radyo Shak (Kreyòl) In addition to the recordings archived here that were collected onsite during the biennale, Clocktower's Ghetto Biennale: Radyo Shak series includes additional material gathered from Haitian musicians, DJ sets, record labels, expats, artists, and more, to give our listeners a complete audio landscape of Haiti in the world today.
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