CAPTION: Haitian music enthusiasts at Central Park’s Summerstage for the BAYO tour. Photo by Tequila Minsky for Haitian Time

NEW YORK—I vividly recall the first time I discovered there was Haitian music on Pandora back in the early 2000s. Growing up in Caribbean-heavy southeast Queens, I had been accustomed to hearing the likes of Sean Paul, Beanie Man and Elephant Man on the radio. By that time, reggae and dancehall had taken over pop culture with artists like Beyoncé and Gwen Stefani incorporating the island melodies in their latest singles.

But hearing konpa megastars T-Vice, Kreyol La, 5lan? No way would that happen. 


From the bal venues of Haiti to the bright lights of the Coachella stage, konpa, Haiti’s most popular music genre, is making an appearance on new, bigger stages in the U.S. as music fans find themselves irresistibly drawn to its captivating melodies. Our writer says it’s only a matter of time before a Haitian konpa act sells out big venues like MSG.

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