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Kamelit "Racine Mapou De Azor"

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Published on Oct 18, 2009

This Haitian Style of music is called Racine/Rara, this video has been filmed in Haiti and the song was performed by the group Kamelit.

The rhythms of Racine and Rara are very similar if not the same, Racine is mainly used in Vodou ceremony while Rara is considered to be the marching bands.

From Vodou to Compas to Racine to Rara and Beyond: Haiti became the first black-ruled republic in the Americas in 1804, and music has mirrored, and at times shaped, the twists and turns of Haitis politics and culture ever since. A primary source of Haitian culture is Dahomey, the birthplace of vodouthe most commonly held world view among Haitian people today. We explore how each of Haitis rulers has championed his own preferred music. The Duvalier dictators favored compas dance music, and suppressed the most African-identified cultural expressions. When Baby Doc was run out of the country in 1986, African-derived racine, or roots, music exploded.

Rara is a vibrant annual street festival in Haiti, when followers of the Afro-Creole religion called Vodou march loudly into public space to take an active role in politics.

During the six weeks between the eve of Lent and Easter Week, Haitian Rara bands take to the streets, offering the urban and rural poor of Haiti an opportunity to negotiate power under conditions of political and economic insecurity as well as publicly celebrate Vodoun religious culture. Through the performance of music, song, and dance during long parades of many miles, Rara bands serve participants and audiences by recalling to memory an oppressed and brutal past. Perhaps more crucially, these bands express much about the current realities of Haitian social, spiritual, and political life as they perform religious work for Voudoun spirits, solidify the notion of community through the patronage of local big men, and contest political oppression. In the Dominican Republic, this tradition is known as gaga.

Rara processions incorporate various types of musical instruments such as kongo or petro drums, twompet (trumpets), tcha-tcha (maracas), graj (metal scrapers), bells, kes (doubled headed and stick beaten, often with a snare like device), flutes, saxophones, and various kinds of rattles made from zinc such as the tchancy, a can filled with seeds. However, the leading instruments in these celebrations are the vaksin, cylindrical trumpets made of bamboo, and the klonet, made of hammered zinc and ending in a flared horn.

These bands are led by presidents, colonels, queens and other members of the complex rara hierarchies. The bands set out on foot from the ounfo (temple) onto the streets where they attract their followers. After the temple, they move from house to house collecting money and occasionally engaging in low level conflict with other groups. The groups are led by their president who has a whistle and a whip, which he uses to clear malevolent spirits from the path of the procession. Despite its seasonal association, rara may take place at any time of the year and animates political rallies, demonstrations and celebrations of all types. Rara processions have traveled with the Diaspora, so it is quite common to experience these celebrations in cities in the United States, Canada, and France, among others.

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