Park Slope's Barbès recently hosted a celebration of Hatian rara music, which featured a performance by the group Djarara. You can hear their set for free right here -- or check them at Zebulon in Williamsburg on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Before You Press Play
Hometown: New York by way of Haiti
The Facts: Rara is a kind of Hatian festival music with roots in vodou, carnival and social protest. Though they have largely flown under the radar, Djarara has operated for two decades as the premier rara group in New York, and perhaps the only one in America to have demonstrated staying power. The band recently performed at hallowed New York instuitions like the Brooklyn Museum and the Village Halloween Parade, and is the subject of the documentary The Other Side of the Water.
The Sound: A marching band armed with, drums, makeshift PVC pipe horns, and a strong sense of national pride. Think West Indian Day Parade.
He Said, She Said: "DJARARA is a traditional Haitian processional band keeping the ancient art of 'rara' music alive in America. The band started in 1990 as a spontaneous explosion of cultural pride after the election of populist leader Jean Bertrand Aristide, and has since been at the heart of the Haitian community of New York." - DCTV
"[Djarara] have re-invented their role to serve the diaspora and in addition to the the ritualistic aspects of the music, take on such topics as Haitian politics and local issues such as police brutality. While their main role is to function as a voice for the community, they can also convey pure trane-like jubilation to any given audience" - Barbès
Check out the trailer for The Other Side of the Water: