By Haitian Times Editorial Staff
Haitian music is as diverse as its people, food and culture. The music pulls from a wide range of influences, and reflects French, African, Spanish, and indigenous inhabitants that all left their mark on the island nation. Some traditional styles that are unique to the country include, rara, twoubado, and rasin. Here are five artists who stay true to Haiti’s roots through their music.
The daughter of an Irish/Russian mother and Haitian father, Riva was raised between Port-au-Prince and New York City. Influences from both cultures are evident in her music and other artistic endeavors. Her music is reminiscent of Sade or Erykah Badu, with a rasin undertone that elicits thoughts of Haiti. Riva is also a jewelry designer, children’s book author and founder of a charity focused on reading to displaced children.
She is the reigning Queen of Haitian Song: a captivating performer, versatile vocalist and one of the premier Haitian songwriters of her generation. Emeline Michel is beloved by Haitians for combining traditional rhythms with social, political and inspirational content.
Paul Beaubrun, Zing Experience
The band Zing Experience fuzes Haitian Roots, Rock and Reggae to create a soulful sound, with influences from artists as diverse as Boukman Eksperyans, Fela Kuti, Sade, Angelique Kidjo, Emeline Michel, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Marley. Since their debut, Zing Experience has gained international and commercial appeal and has performed in Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Canada and the U.S, making them one of the few bands out of Haiti that has been able to garner worldwide success.