Boukman Eksperyans

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additional name:
Lolo Beabrund
post-colonialism, vodou
Music (roots' fusion)
America, Caribbean
created on:
May 19, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since February 16, 2010. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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 Boukman Eksperyans
Boukman Eksperyans © Tropical Music


Haiti´s roots´ activists

On Haiti, roots’ music has had a revival in the last few years. The band Boukman Eksperyans combines traditional voodoo motifs with up to date political messages.
Boukman Eksperyans is the banner-bearer of mizik rasin, the roots’ music strongly coloured by Haitian African traditions. The group’s name refers to the Haitian myth about the slave Boukman Jetty, who in 1804 instigated an uprising which led to the Island’s independence. The group sees itself as being the mouthpiece of Haiti’s black population, whose culture has been repressed by various governments, even since the end of the colonial period.

The group Boukman Eksperyans was founded in 1978, while the dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier was still in power, by Lolo Beabrund, whose father was a well known comedian on the island. As a child Lolo Beabrund followed his mother to the USA, where he later studied before returning to Haiti in 1978.

After researching into the origins of voodoo culture, the group appeared for the first time in the 80s as a live band, whose music and instruments combine traditional and modern features. Its members sing in Haiti’s Creole language, whose subversive potential led to its being forbidden by various governments. Boukman Eksperyans interest in voodoo, the island’s hybrid folk-religion, is shown in the way in which it borrows old religious and African motifs from Haiti’s modern everyday culture.

On Haiti, Boukman Eksperyans is known for its plain political attitudes. The reactions towards it of various governments on the island in the last couple of decades have varied with the political situation. In 1989 for instance its piece Wet Chenn won the first prize in a music competition, but after the military coup d’état against the President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the group was no longer allowed to compete. The band’s carnival song Jou Maie was a thorn in the army’s eye in 1992 and was hence forbidden, but even earlier, some of its pieces had been censored. In 1990, for instance, Kem Pa Sote had been banned from radio transmission and so became the hymn of the protest movement which led to the downfall of the ruling General, Prosper Avril.

While the situation on the island was touch and go at the start of the 90s, Boukman Eksperyans received more appreciation and support from abroad. Mango, the sub-label of the record company Island, gave the band a contract, whereby its records were issued for the first time outside Haiti in the 90s. The band’s international debut Kalfou Danjere was even nominated for a Granny in 1993.
Author: Daniel Bax 


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"Tipa Tipa"

taken from the CD "Revolisyon"
Tropical Music
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