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Monday, January 12, 2015

Jazz en Haiti: The Port-au-Prince Jazz fest is almost here

In an era where the main "jazz and Blues festival" here is content to boast of Mariah Carey as principal draw, its heartening to learn that Haiti has its own jazz fest, happening from jan 17-24, and that the line-up is in fact, quite credible and attractive from a jazz fan's standpoint:

Yellowjackets and local legends Boukman Ekspereyans are included this year, while previous outings have featured renowned players such as Mino Cinelu, Henry Texier, and American pianist Aaron Goldberg.

Names of no meaning to all but a handful of Jamaicans, but to those who know and love the form, a good recommendation to make the trip to Port au Prince (which, capital to capital, is actually closer to Kingston than Havana.)

For eight days, Port-au-Prince swings with jazz rhythms. The Festival participants pour into historic public spaces of the capital, such as the historic Sugar Cane Park with its gardens and vestiges from the colonial era, the gardens of the prestigious Karibe Hotel, and the FOKAL Cultural Center located in the heart of Port-au-Prince. For the after hours jam sessions, festival-goers fill the most attractive restaurants of P├ętion-Ville, the nightlife neighborhood of the capital.


To achieve its mission to promote music and especially jazz around the country, the Fondation Haiti Jazz - the Festival's primary organizers - offers free music training workshops to young, local musicians in collaboration with the participating international music professionals.

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