Nación del Ritmo: cómo la música da esperanza a Haití en medio del caos | Música

We don’t create the political instability. We don’t create the economic destabilization. So who is benefiting? It’s the powers that be, the ones pulling the strings from afar. But we have our music, our culture, our traditions to keep us strong. And that’s what will ultimately help us rise above the challenges we face.”

“Two Canadian gold companies have just signed contracts to mine on the island because there’s so much gold. Who benefits? It makes me so sad, which is why I fly the flag for Haiti even though I was born in Montreal. I have everything to do with Haiti. I have to take care of my roots; that’s what the music is doing, because we’ve been oppressed. That’s why my music is about coming together to uplift and heal, I’m not a politician but I feel I can impact people through music.”

“L’union fait la force”, the motto on the Haitian flag, translates from French into English as “Strength in unity”, and that resonates with many Haitians at this point in time. Still, Obed Calvaire sounds a note of caution. “Yeah, I feel the idea,” he says. “It would be great if we could all do something together, maybe raise some money for the cause, but then you go back to the earthquake [of 2010], and we raised how many billions of dollars? Where did that money go? Is there an honest leader to use it well?”

For all these misgivings, Calvaire welcomes the prospect of artists joining forces for the good of Haiti. “We could still form a collective, and make some beautiful music for the people.”

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Jowee Omicil plays Ronnie Scott’s, London, on 30 May; Obed Calvaire’s 150 Million Gold Francs is out now on Ropeadope; Mélusine by Cécile McLorin Salvant is out now.