In this latest Haitians In America profile, we spoke with Gardy Girault on the fusion of EDM with Rara and how its popularity is spreading like wildfire throughout the music world.
How many can say they created a new musical genre? Gardy Girault is one who can proudly say yes. Following the 2010 earthquake, the DJ created “rara tech” — a blend of organic Haitian rara, konpa with electronic and house beats. For him the “experimental genre” introduces Haitian cultural expression into the modern music world.
After releasing music with labels like Vida Records, Nulu Music, Melomania Records, Gardy founded Rizing Muzik, a leading record label in Haiti that contributes to the growth of the underground electronic movement.
You pioneered the genre rara tech. How would you describe it for those unfamiliar with it? What does it sound and feel like?
Rara tech is an affectionate label I used for the music I produce. It’s a mix of haitian rara, our traditional sounds, with techno and electronic music. I cannot truly describe how it sounds but I can say that you will find haitian and african musical elements mixed with house music. To me, it makes me feel in my element. Its a meeting of modern, contemporary and traditional, mixed with ancestral sounds, for all generations and all audiences.
You’ve performed all over the world. How do different crowds respond to Haitian-infused sounds in your mixes?
It’s always a big surprise for me to discover that music is a true universal language, especially music with traditional afro-haitian beats. Whatever the crowd, there is always an explosion of joy and dance on the dance floor. Meanwhile also wanting to note that the haitian public is a bit more resistant to this. They are much more comfortable to what they’re used to hearing/dancing, which is commercial. But I do feel that this is changing bit by bit.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What’s your dream for rara tech?
Honestly, only the Higher Power knows. But, I will continue to work to keep reaching new frontiers; representing who/what we are (Haitians) in a beautiful way, to the best of my capabilities. This in the end is satisfying to both me, and of course my fans. I also will continue to work to outdo myself as a Haitian Dj/producer that has chosen to stay and live in my country. I hope that this opens up more doors for other artists who like me, want to spread a positive message with the same ideals, in the same situation as I.