Soundtrax from Bas Me Limbe, Haiti
Traditional Haitian music played by local singers and musicians with handmade percussion and string bass instruments in the village Bas Me Limbe .This was taken with a flash in total darkness. Photo: Eric Doubt.
As part of our Soundtrax series, listener Eric Doubt sent us this, from his experience as a volunteer in Haiti.
Dear CBC Dispatches producers,
(Attached is) an iPhone audio recording, made on the night of November 19, 2011 on a remote beach in northern Haiti.
The scene is as follows, from a blog I wrote while on a volunteer medical mission at the time, with HaitiVillage Health
As the sun set (early here) the villagers gathered for a special night of music and dancing, with only a small bonfire and a crystal clear starry sky to light the incredible scene of local culture and amusement. The musicians were two drummers whacking expertly with different instruments on an old broken iron pot (I think); and three 'string bass' players striking on ropes stretched from the end of a long curved wooden pole, anchored at the other end in the ground to a rubber pad secured over a hole in the ground by a wooden frame and pegs. The tonal range and power produced by this primitive string section was impressive. Above the syncopated wild drumming and the musical interplay of three thumping bassists rose the melodious and haunting voice of a male singer, sometimes harmonizing with a partner, calling to the chorus and the dancers....
Singers, dancers, drummers and musicians interacted with increasing intensity for five hours without a moment's break. It was impossible not to lose oneself in this sensational night.
The village is Bas Me Limbe, a few hours by hard road from Cap Haitien and, as a contrast, across the wide bay from the tourist beach of Labadie where Royal Caribbean cruise lines regularly deposits thousands of tourists in the sun and safety of a beautiful, isolated stretch of Haitian paradise. The performers I witnessed and was so entranced by were not trained, nor from the city, not sent or hired to entertain foreigners. (I've seen lots of talented Haitians generously entertain the dedicated volunteer troops that visit on rotation throughout country.) This was their home, this was their thing, and it was real. Their audience was the hometown crowd - adults, teens and children from the village and, mingling easily in the crowd, our team of family docs, paediatricians, and support volunteers from the US, Canada and Bermuda. I was told that the previous week during national holidays they group played like this for five nights straight.
I have been volunteering and working in Haiti (pat time) since 2006 when I saw a short CBC TV piece by senior correspondent Neil MacDonald on the subject of orphans with disabilities abandoned in the General Hospital in Port au Prince. It inspired me to stop agonizing over late night TV NGO infomercials, get off the couch and instead, do something. That night I volunteered in a non-medical support role with the Healing Hands for Haiti, the lead physical therapy and rehabilitation NGO in Haiti. Six weeks later I was visiting the same kids at an orphanage which had adopted all of them from the General Hospital. Over the years I've played many roles at HHH including board member, marketing consultant and eventually, full time Executive Director. I am now a volunteer and consultant with the Haiti Village Health.
Categories: Your Dispatches
|Radio One||Thursday 1 pm, 1:30 pm NT Sunday 7 pm, 8 pm AT and 8:30 pm NT|
|Sirius 137||Friday at Midnight & 9 am, Sunday at 10 pm|
- Analysis Rex Tillerson in Turkey: What to expect from the U.S. secretary of state's visit to Ankara
- It will be a short meeting with a long list of potential consequences as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Ankara today. The United States and Turkey have a lengthy history and an important friendship — but the love is hardly unconditional.
- CBC IN MANILA 'Sometimes, I blame myself': Marites Flor on surviving hostage-taking that killed boyfriend Robert Hall video
- In 2016, Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel were killed by militants who held them hostage in the Philippines. Hall's girlfriend, Marites Flor, was also taken and spoke to CBC about the harrowing ordeal.
- 'Tickled plumb to death': These Trump voters love Obamacare and are glad it's survived
- Among those cheering loudest when the Republican plan to remake the U.S. health-care system collapsed last week were some of Donald Trump's strongest supporters. And they'd vote for Trump again.
- Number of Syrian refugees tops 5 million, says UN
- The number of Syrians who have fled their country after six years of war has surpassed the five-million mark, the United Nations refugee agency said Thursday.
- Australia evacuations due to flooding affect thousands
- Authorities ordered the evacuation of large parts of a major town of more than 25,000 people in eastern Australia on Thursday.