Each year since 2007, the capital city of Port-au-Prince hosts the International Jazz Festival to a growing and diverse public. Located in the Greater Antilles, Haiti benefits from a mild January Caribbean climate during this one-week spectacular event.
The Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival offers an unprecedented cultural assembly in Haiti each year to a local and international audience as a non-profit event in partnership with the Ministry of Culture & Communication, the Ministry of Tourism, ten embassies, and major private and public institutions throughout the country.
Musicians from around the world participate in this common celebration of jazz in Port-au-Prince. These musicians come from the United States, France, Brazil, Mexico, Chili, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, the Dominican Republic, and of course, from Haiti and its Diaspora.
Past editions of the Festival have feature Henri Texier and Mino Cinelu from France, Annie Poulin and Brandy Disterheft of Canada, Nono Garcia of Spain, the Sacbe Group of Mexico, and Aaron Goldberg from the US. Despite some challenges the tourism industry faces in Haiti, the Festival's organizers host their musical guests in conditions comparable to many other international jazz festivals.
Every country brings its own touch, flavor, and identity to the Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival, giving the event a universal dimension that only jazz can offer its fans. Haiti also brings its own color: kreyòl jazz, a rising movement in the international jazz scene. Pauline Jean, Beethova Obas, Meddy Gerveille de la Réunion, Reginald Policard, Turgot Theodat, Buyu Ambroise and Mushy Widmaier have been the ambassadors of kreyòl jazz during past editions.
For eight days, Port-au-Prince swings with jazz rhythms. The Festival participants pour into historic public spaces of the capital, such as the historic Sugar Cane Park with its gardens and vestiges from the colonial era, the gardens of the prestigious Karibe Hotel, and the FOKAL Cultural Center located in the heart of Port-au-Prince. For the after hours jam sessions, festival-goers fill the most attractive restaurants of Pétion-Ville, the nightlife neighborhood of the capital.
To achieve its mission to promote music and especially jazz around the country, the Fondation Haiti Jazz - the Festival's primary organizers - offers free music training workshops to young, local musicians in collaboration with the participating international music professionals.
Haiti is open for business and ready to receive jazz fans from around the world under the tropical sun.
Claude Carré was born in Port-au-Prince. Being a traditional jazz guitarist, a researcher and a music teacher, Professor Carré is a passionate advocate of Jazz in Haiti. A few years ago, he created the "Haiti Jazz Club" where he inducts and teaches young musicians to jazz techniques. Co-founder of the Natif Jazz Trio in 1998, he's also written "Les Musiques d'Haïti", an essay on music. Finally, Claude Carré regularly lends his talent to foreign musicians invited to Haiti.
During years, James German offered ¬a universe in the confluence of his afro-Caribbean roots. Born in Port-au-Prince, he grew on the hill of Saint-Antoine, a working-class district of the capital. James sings with a melancholic voice, airs of traditional voodoo songs blended with touches of opera or even gospel, by reinventing codes. Haiti, its songs and voodoo, are at the center of its work... His inspiration takes from classical to afro music, thus a unique world at the crossroad of several worlds. After a third album " Kréol Mandingue ", produced in Mali, James prepares a new album which shows its deep roots of Haitian culture and its force always renewed to impose its voice in the world.
In Quebec, the Caribbean, Europe; on stage, in song, on the big screen...writer, composer, actor and host Luck Mervil is undeniably one of the French-speaking world's most recognizable artists.Born in Haiti, Mervil started singing at the age of four. He grew up in New York and in Quebec, where he founded RudeLuck, a rap-reggae fusion group that earned many nominations, awards, radio hits, successful tours, and invitations to Francophone festivals in Canada and Europe. The album Pour le meilleur et pour le pire has sold more than 250,000 copies. Mervil recently launched TI PEYI A, a strikingly authentic and disturbingly sensitive new album blending various Creole styles in order to portray life, love and daily struggles in his birthplace.
Réginald Policard is a Haitian pianist who started playing when he was 12. His experience includes various styles such as Kompa, Jazz, Latin Jazz, Fusion, etc... He is a founding member and director of the famous band Caribbean Sextet with which he took part to the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Réginald Policard has also recorded fourteen solo albums. On August the 15th 2013, Boarding Pass, taken from his album Detour was among the Top 10 of Spotlight on Jazz.
"When words are not enough ... it is his music that speaks. "The pianist and composer Willerm Delisfort is a messenger of life, using music as a tool. His style extends from Jazz to Gospel or R & B. His versatility has allowed him to become a musician very in demand by Jazz, Rap, Soul or Fusion artists, among which Fareed Haque, Calvin Newborne, Corey Wilkes, Ernest Dawkins, T-Pain and many others.
This group from Cap Haitian sounds like a typical "Root & Jazz-Fusion" band. All the emotion of Haitian Folk Rhythms is brought to life thanks to the combination of Haitian traditional drums and rhythms with a touch of Jazz, Funk and Rock. In 2012, X-Key took part in the 6th edition of the Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival. Their much awaited first album is programmed to be released in 2014.
Mushy Widmaier is a "modern jazz" piano player, but one with a certain undertone of both Haitian folklore and European art music - but all of it as ingredients of a digested and unified whole sounding unmistakably as Him. Mushy is capable of fitting in with groups of almost any stylistic observance, and takes a most active and creative part in the proceedings. He seems to master a vast repertory, whether jazz standards, Haitian folk songs, popular dance music or originals.
Josué Alexis is a young pianist, born in Port-au-Prince. He begins practicing the piano at a very young age, exploring the classic repertoire under the supervision of teachers such as Joseph Pierre, Loubert V. Leopold and Serge Villedrouin. In 2003, he obtains a distinction prize in the national competition of piano and music theory. Self-taught in jazz music, he followed with interest the workshops of the previous editions of the Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince. Currently he collaborates actively with singer and guitarist Hans Peters, and drummer John Bern Thomas. He will perform accompanied by Hermand Duverne (bass), Gessoit Pierre-Louis (Saxophone) and John Bern Thomas. Alexis is one of the great hopes of the new generation of Haitians jazz pianists.
Born in California, Nadège Bellande Robertson began playing the piano and violin as a child, but found her true talent as a vocalist. In 1994, she moved to Haiti, and established herself quickly. In 2002, she created the band N'Didgenous with Gregory Vorbe. Nadège has also collaborated with Jean Pierre Grasset, Joel and Mushy Widmaier, Strings, and performed with Boukman Eksperyans, RAM, Belo, Fabrice Rouzier, The Fugees, The Marleys, and the Lynn University Philharmonic