Lakou Mizik: a multi-media celebration of Haitian music
Lakou Mizik is a multi-media celebration of Haitian music and culture. Music is at the vital core of Haiti’s sense of self and musicians have always played an important societal role, both in documenting the country’s history and helping to shape its path forward. Today a young generation of artists is keeping this tradition alive, narrating the world they live in through music that is made in their neighborhoods, villages and post-earthquake settlements. The Lakou Mizik Collective brings together these musical generations in celebration of the cultural continuum while using Haiti’s deep well of creative strength to shine a positive light on this tragically misrepresented country.
African, French, Caribbean and American influences collide in Haiti like nowhere else in the world and Lakou Mizik draws inspiration from all of them. There’s the insistent spirit stirring rhythms of vodou drumming, the french café lilt of the accordion and the joyful percussive punctuation of the Rara horns – all mixed with scrappy, socially-driven lyric writing and a dash of Motown swagger. Lakou Mizik is a thrilling genre blending musical experience that is as hard to define as it is easy to love – a soulful stew of deeply danceable grooves that feels strangely familiar yet intensely new and 100% Haitian.
The collective has been coming together for nearly 3 years – it is made up of legends like master vodou drummer Sanba Zao, young stars like Steeve Valcourt and Jonas Attis and previously undiscovered talents like Nadine Remy. Over these years Lakou Mizik has been steadily building a passionate fan base – honing their electrifying live show, consistently writing new socially conscious music and further refining their roots, soul sound.
Our goal is to record a full length album with Lakou Mizik in February 2015. We have scheduled a 2 week recording trip with music producers Chris Velan (Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars) and Iestyn Polson (David Gray, Patti Smith). The album will be recorded in Jacmel, Haiti at the “Audio Institute” Haiti’s only Music Production and Audio Engineering school. In addition, We plan to produce a series of “documentary style” music videos for each of the songs. These videos will be released with the album and will act not just as music videos but as beautiful testaments to the culture, people and landscape of Haiti.
In Haitian Kreyol the word “Lakou” carries multiple meanings. It means the backyard, a gathering place where people come to sing and dance, to debate or share a meal. It also means “home” or “where you are from” and has acted as a potent symbol of grassroots protest against foreign oppression – In the wake of the earthquake of 2010, the continued unjust barrage of negative news and images, and the repeated phrase “poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” LAKOU MIZIK, or “Music from Home,” is a defiant musical expression of Haitian pride and hope.
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