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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.


Ghetto Biennale: Radyo Shak


Radyo Shak was the independent broadcast voice of the Ghetto Biennale of Haiti, hosting freeform radio including Rara bands, locals, artists and writers, and Haitian revolutionary history.