Friday, September 24

On the need to celebrate Creole culture

Despite the pandemic, it should have been a celebration. “Our 15 years of existence! »Exclaims Fabienne Colas, founder of the Haiti en folie festival, which takes place in a hybrid format from July 26th to July 1st.is August. “The big deal, with artists from Haiti and the diaspora, here, the United States and elsewhere; we were on a roll! However, the very day we were going to announce the program, we woke up to this news… ”It was on July 7, in the early morning, that the world learned of the assassination of President of Haiti Jovenel Moïse , “The apogee”, says the founder, of a social, economic and political crisis which lasts for almost two years.

Shaken, the organization put the unveiling of the poster of the 15e edition of Haiti in madness in parentheses for several days. Consequently, “we had to review the program and withdraw certain events that seemed less favorable,” explains Fabienne Colas. We thought, for example, to offer more paid events, we instead bet on free events. We added a closing show ”, the recording of a gospel concert by Sylvie Desgroseilliers and the Choir of the Conservatory of Modern Music (CCMM) presented a few years ago, rebroadcast for free on 1is August. Prayers will be addressed to the Pearl of the Antilles, bruised, again.

For logistical reasons, the organization has also canceled the traditional rara parade that usually closes the festival, “but that’s probably a good thing. We don’t have the heart to parade and celebrate these days ”… On the other hand, the poster, 0multidisciplinary, offers tempting conferences: a round table on Haitian and Caribbean gastronomy (July 28, at 5 p.m., online and free), a literary discussion with the leader of the Liberal Party Dominique Anglade around her autobiography This Quebec that inhabits me (July 29, 5 p.m.) and another, with Michaëlle Jean, about her illustrious uncle, the poet and novelist René Depestre, Renaudot Prize in 1988 for his novel Hadriana in all my dreams (July 30, 5 p.m.).

Above all, what we want to show is that next to this chaos, Haiti is not all that is making the headlines. It’s not just corruption, assassinations, crime. It’s not that and we don’t want people to think that. On the fringes of chaos, there is a people who do great things. Artists who create. There is resilience, there is beauty.

The day of July 27 will be devoted to Haitian cinema, while the musical component of the festival was assembled on Saturday July 31 at the Lion d’Or, first with the launch of the mini-album Haitian by Montreal singer-songwriter Rebecca Jean – who offers an astonishing fusion of kompa music and traditional Quebec music! -, followed by a performance of mizik racin and voodoo rhythms with the most important rara troupe in Montreal, Rara Soley.

Fabienne Colas is also very keen on the two exhibitions presented in the city center, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., for the duration of the festival. These are architectural projections. The first will be presented on the Wilder building, under the artistic direction of the artist Maliciouz, with the collaboration of Patrice Dauphin, and the second, presented on the walls of the Grande Bibliothèque, will pay tribute to the literary career of Dany Laferrière.

« The show must go on, says Fabienne Colas. Above all, what we want to show is that next to this chaos, Haiti is not just what makes the headlines. It’s not just corruption, assassinations, crime. It’s not that and we don’t want people to think that. On the fringes of chaos, there is a people who do great things. Artists who create. There is resilience, there is beauty. And like Dany Laferrière, honorary president of our 15the edition of the festival, summed it up so well after the earthquake: “When everything falls in Haiti, culture remains!” “

It was precisely the motivation behind the creation of an event of this kind, which is aimed above all at Montrealers curious to discover the richness of Creole culture, recognizes the entrepreneur, who left Haiti 17 years ago for settle here. “When I created this festival 15 years ago, I had just arrived. When I was watching the news from here, there was a lot of talk about street gangs in Montreal North. On each bulletin, it was always the same song… And I said to myself: But, do they define us like that? What is this story ? But that’s not it at all, Haiti! »Says Fabienne Colas, recalling the contribution of intellectuals from the West Indies, academician Laferrière, the former governor general, the illustrious Georges Anglade, co-founder of the Department of geography at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

It was necessary to change the perception that Quebeckers could have of Haiti, “to exhibit, first and foremost to people who do not know this country, its splendor, its wealth, its music, its gastronomy, its literature, its art. “. A job, recognizes Fabienne Colas, which seems to have to be restarted with each bad news emanating from the island.

“It seems that there is always something, a new slippage, a new problem, the chaos which returns, and each time, one wonders how to reinvent the festival to be as united as possible towards the place of the people. “

Madness haiti, from July 26 to 1is August

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