The idea for this roundtable started with Madison Smartt Bell, and a post he wrote about Haitian music for the New York Times’s Paper Cuts blog.
I knew Wyclef’s music and a few other names on Bell’s list, but I found myself feeling woefully short on context. I wanted to know what’s going on now in Haiti. What are the big struggles within and behind Haitian music? What should people be listening to? To answer these questions, and others, I enlisted the help of music scholar Garnette Cadogan and brought together Bell with:
Laurent Dubois, who is the author of “Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution,” and is working on a history of the banjo.
Elizabeth McAlister, who writes about Haitian music and religious culture. She is the author of “Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and its Diaspora,” and produced the Smithsonian Folkways CD “Rhythms of Rapture: Sacred Musics of Haitian Vodou.”
Edwidge Danticat, a novelist and author of the memoir “Brother, I’m Dying.”
Garnette Cadogan himself, who is at work on a book about rock-reggae superstar Bob Marley.
The conversation is theirs. I’m here only as student and moderator.