Boukman Eksperyans * Haitian mizik rasin at Tropicalia
Founded in 1978, Boukman Eksperyans is one of Haitis most beloved bands. After the groups charismatic leader, Theodore Lòlò Beaubrun, Jr., saw Bob Marley perform, he was inspired by Marleys example to similarly uplift and amplify Haitis traditional music and its spiritual message. In the decades since, Lòlò and his wife Mimerose, better known as Manzè, pioneered a vibrant cultural movement, now known as mizik rasin.
First called vodou adjae, mizik rasin means roots music in Haitian Creole (Kreyol), a synthesis of French with numerous West African languages. Mizik rasin fuses the sacred music of the Afro-Haitian religion Vodou with electrified elements of rock and R&B. The bands moniker reflects this powerful cultural amalgam: it combines the name of Boukman Dutty, a Vodou priest who led the famous 1791 ceremony at Bois Caïman that is credited with sparking the Haitian revolution, with eksperyans, an invocation, in Kreyol, of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Eksperyans also reflects the Beaubruns embrace of the Vodou philosophy that all has to be one in love.
A comic actor as well as a musician, Lòlò Beaubrun comes from a family of famous artists; his father, Theodore Sr., was a famous stage and screen actor better known in Haiti as Languichatte Debordus, for the popular comedic character he played on television. Lòlòs parents were also dancers, and despite elite disdain forand sometimes governmental censure ofVodou, his father passed down to him the faiths drumming tradition. In Vodou, which syncretizes West African, Catholic, and native Taïno and Arawak theologies, ceremonial drumming and song anchor the religious rites that restore balance to the world. Through Boukman Eksperyans, Lòlò and Manzè Beaubrunherself a respected scholar noted for her published work on both Vodou and the Haitian communal culture of lakouuse this music to tell Haitian people to be proud of their culture, and to universalize the call for community and connection.
The current incarnation of Boukman Eksperyans tours the world with ten musicians and two dancers, featuring leading Haitian artists including Lòlòs cousin, the drummer Hans Bwa Gris Dominique; bassist Donnier Mondesir; and professor of dance Johanne Dejean. Band members also play traditional African drums, a metallic scraper known as a krai, and a Haitian bamboo flute called the vaksin. They sing primarily in Kreyol.
Boukman Eksperyans has rebuffed appeals from politicians and political parties; instead, as Beaubrun says, We are there as the voice of the people. In 1990, their anthem Ke-M Pa Sote was named best song at Port-Au-Princes Carnival; its lyrics (my heart doesnt leap, you dont scare me) were embraced as a rebuke of dictatorial and corrupt politicians. Despite periods of political repression and even a brief exile, Boukman Eksperyans continues to issue a rallying cry against the ills imposed upon the Haitian people, and indeed people everywhere, providing through their joyous music the inspiration for a future with love as the base.
PO Box 21580
Washington, DC 20009
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|