Haiti & New Orleans – A Treasured Melting Pot

I cannot help but wonder at the talent, beauty and opportunities the United States loses out on when we deny entry to refugees. This week’s show starts off with a musical nod to the travesty that resulted in one of our country’s diplomats resigning in disgust.

Lakou Mizik, a Haitian band, recorded HaitiNola in New Orleans to celebrate and highlight the city’s shared cultural heritage with New Orleans. That shared experience dates back to the early 1800’s when the first and only successful slave rebellion in the Americas resulted in the formation of Haiti, scattering French refugees and their slaves and some free people of colors throughout the Caribbean. As luck would have it, a large portion, roughly 10,000 people, ended up in New Orleans doubling the size of the city and changing it forever.

This public radio podcast goes into greater detail on the history and the shared architecture, art, food, language and music that evolved from this cultural infusion to the city. In this week’s show, you’ll hear Lakou Mizik perform with King James and the Special Men followed by tracks from Bamboula 2000, Sunpie Barnes, and Fredy Omar. Apparently, the U.S. has a tradition of diplomats resigning over its treatment of Haiti, dating back to Fredrick Douglass who would later say “Haiti is Black, and we have not yet forgiven Haiti for being Black.”  That was in 1893 and it seems that things have not changed.

This week’s show has very little New Orleans style jazz. Near the end of the show, you will hear Haruka Kikuchi‘s wonderful rendition of Salty Dog, including some lyrics sung in Japanese, that she does with Shake’Em Up Jazz Band. But its stands nearly alone in the hot jazz category. Instead, you’ll hear Egg Yolk Jubilee getting loud with “Black Drawers,” Garage a Trois fusing it up with “Calm Down,” and George Porter Jr. funking it up with “Nice, Very Nice.” Also, I feature two songs by The Soul Rebels who will be performing in Olympia and Seattle in February 2022.

Bonerama from the band’s “Live at the Old Point” 2001 release

I also need to say a little bit about the New Orleans band Bonerama mostly so I have an excuse to display this gratuitous photo. The band is still active though with fewer trombonists and more clothing. On this show, you’ll hear the band’s performance of “Blues for Ben.”