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Tom Bogaert, Rocket Number Nine

On his first visit to the Ghetto Biennale in 2013, the Belgian artist Tom Bogaert heard something familiar in the rara marching music he saw being played in the streets of Haiti. Already doing work on the legendary interplanetary jazz legend Sun Ra’s visit to Egypt in the early 1970s, Bogaert read in the dog-eared pages of an old copy of the Lonely Planet that Sun Ra was also rumored to have visited Haiti, perhaps ten years earlier, during his so-called “lost years.” It was even said that Sun Ra might have composed his masterpiece, Rocket Number Nine, in Port-au-Prince. What Bogaert heard in the sounds of the streets made him believe this could be true, and during his return visit to the 4th Ghetto Biennale he determined to find out. In this interview in our rather rainy Radyo Shak Tom discusses his Sun Ra Ra project and ponders the question: could Rocket Number Nine have its roots in Haitian rara? We will let the listeners be the judge.

Pandan premye visit Tom Bogaert te fe pou 3yem Geto Byenal la, atis belj sa-a te tande yon bagay k li te rekonet andan misik rara k li te ankontre nan lari. Li te deja fe anpil travay sou kestyon voyaj misisyen Sun Ra te fe nan Egypt debu zane 70, epi li te we nan yon ansyen kopi gid “Lonely Planet” k Sun Ra te supoze visite Ayiti tou. Yo te di tou k sa te posib k Sun Ra te konpoze chedev li, “Rocket Number 9” nan vil Potoprins la. Sa li te tande nan lari te fel panse k sa te kapab vre, donk pandan retou pal pou 4yem edisyon Byenal la li te vle konpran verite sa-a. Nan yon intervu andan Radyo Shak pandan yon gwo lapli, Bogaert ap diskute pwoje pal sou Sun Ra epi panse nan kestyon—eske “Rocket Number 9” te gen rasin yo nan misik rara tankou “Fize Numewo Nef”? Nap kite ekoute yo deside.



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.