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 'Things could explode': Why pressure is mounting as Venezuela's economy melts down video
- Venezuela’s economic meltdown has become so dire that speculation from political analysts now centres on when and how President Nicolas Maduro will be removed from power.
- Updated EgyptAir crash remains point to explosion on board, investigator says
- Human remains retrieved from the crashed EgyptAir flight suggest that there was an explosion on board the plane, although no traces of explosives have been detected, an Egyptian forensics official and investigation sources said on Tuesday.
- Greece police begin clearing out Idomeni refugee camp
- Greek authorities began an operation at dawn Tuesday to gradually evacuate the country's largest informal refugee camp of Idomeni on Macedonian border, blocking access to the area and sending in more than 400 riot police.
- Bill Cosby arrives in court in sex assault case involving Toronto woman
- Bill Cosby has arrived at a Pennsylvania courthouse for a key hearing in the case where he is accused of drugging and molesting former Temple University employee and Toronto native Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
- Obama presses Vietnam to improve human rights record
- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday pressed Vietnam to allow greater freedoms for its citizens, arguing that better human rights would improve the communist country's economy, stability and regional power.