Technically Creole is any European-African mix, but in the Caribbean it is mostly French-African especially in Haiti and the West Indies.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana
The party in New Orleans gets going two weeks before “Mardi Gras” (Fat Tuesday). Mardi Gras in New Orleans is African, Caribbean, African-American, Congo Square, March, Ragtime, Blues, Jazz, Latin Music and Latin Dance all at once.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Celebrate the French-African culture of the Caribbean, the Americas, Africa and the world that gave us jazz
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Lower East Side, NYC
On the theme of “The Inner Strength”, Kennyth Montes de Oca and the fine OCA Dance dancers invoke the West African mother goddess of the sea, Yemayá, on their way to that special place in the mountains of the human soul. “Olo ho Yemayá, Olo ho Yemayá, O… ..”
Sunday, February 9, 2020
ABC, DOLBY THEATRE
“Parasite” makes history as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. Puerto Rico-born Joaquin Phoenix wins Best Actor.
Latin connections to this year’s nominees are Argentine, Brazilian, Creole, Cuban, French, Italian, Jewish, Malian, Mexican, Nigerian, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Spanish and Trinidadian.
Friday, Oct 18, 2019
Astros won last night 3-8. Series is Yankees 1-3 Astros. Yanks have to sweep the next three games to win. Let’s go Yankees!
October 1-13, 2019
MIDTOWN, NYC ~ Four world-class companies / choreographers / dancers a night for just $15 is the best deal in dance at New York City Center
Saturday, November 16, 2019
PURCHASE, New York (White Plains) ~ Traditional Haitian folk music as part of ‘(T)HERE: A Global Festival of Art, Culture and Ideas – Haiti’ at the Purchase College Performing Arts Center
Friday, November 15, 2019
PURCHASE COLLEGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Purchase, New York ~ Discover the rich textures of Haitian music and dance in the jazz and classical arts at.'(T)HERE: A Global Festival of Art, Culture and Ideas – Haiti’
¡New York Latin Culture Sponsor!
Sunday, November 10, 2019
HARLEM, NYC ~ The DTH School, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Evidence bring ballet to the community at the Dance Theatre of Harlem studios
Thursday, August 29, 2019
LINCOLN CENTER ~ One of Haiti’s most famous bands (Voudou Adjae) plays a free concert at the David Rubenstein Atrium
Thu-Mon, Aug 29-Sep 2, 2019
LABOR DAY WEEKEND
Reggae Afrobeats Soca
Summer Jam Youth Fest
Junior Carnival Parade
Panorama Steelband Championship
Dimanche Gras Carnival Sunday Party
CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn ~ The Brooklyn Museum and the Parade on Eastern Avenue turns the neighborhood into a Caribbean Carnival
Wed-Sat, Apr 10, 12, 13, 2019
MIDTOWN, NYC ~ New York City’s African-American classical ballet company honors founder Arthur Mitchell (1934-2018) at New York City Center
LINCOLN CENTER; Thu Apr 4, 2019; New Orleans Haitian Creole folk blues ~ In the simplest of terms, Leyla McCalla is on her way to becoming one of the great American voices. FREE
The French Caribbean
After an initial attempt on St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1626, Martinique became the first French colony in 1635.
Today the French Antilles are Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy. French Guiana is in South American between Venezuela and Brazil.
The French Caribbean includes the independent countries of Haiti, Dominica and Saint Lucia.
French America includes New Brunswick and Quebec in Canada. In the United States New Orleans is a French Caribbean city. There are also French influences in northern Maine and coastal south Florida.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was roughly the middle third of today’s United States. The original French Louisiana (1682-1762) included a large swath of land on both sides of the Mississippi River.
Creole, Acadian, French-Canadian, Haitian, Cajun and Louisiana Creole are all remnants of French America.
The Haitian Diaspora
First the riches of the French sugar colony Saint-Domingue (Haiti) and then the chaos of the Haitian Revolution caused a Haitian diaspora. This French, Creole & African diaspora spread Creole culture across the Caribbean including to New Orleans and Veracruz, Mexico.
The popular music and dances of the Americas (all of them) have Creole roots. It’s all related to Carnival which was the only time Africans were allowed to celebrate their own culture.
The story is not well told, but Creole footprints are everywhere. For example, bomba is a Puerto Rican music and dance tradition. La Familia Cepeda, the first family of bomba in Puerto Rico, says that their tradition comes from a French sugar plantation in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
There is also a rough hillbilly accent around Hatillo, Puerto Rico. It’s Spanish spoken from the back of the throat. Puerto Ricans will tell you that the accent is a French accent. Indeed French is spoken from the back of the throat using the mouth to form a tunnel that modifies and softens the sound. This Puerto Rican accent drops the tunnel and it sounds really rough.
Creole is hard to define. It is not one people. As European mixed with something, it’s many peoples around the world. But Caribbean Creole is often French-African. It’s the French version of Spanish “Criollo,” meaning the American-born children of Europeans.
French-Creole begins with the children of French colonizers in the Americas. In colonial thinking, anyone born in the Americas was already second-class, but these were the first-class, leading families in the Americas. Often mixed-race, Creoles were highly-educated. Many studied in Europe.
The contribution of Creole peoples to the music and dances of the Americas is tremendous, but largely unspoken.
Blues is from Africa, but it took the form we know today in the French Americas. It’s the root of jazz, country, rock, and their successors, essentially all the popular music of the United States.
Trinidad Carnival set Caribbean Carnival traditions which were copied around the world. Carnival was the only time of the year Africans in the colonies were allowed to have a little fun. Out of that we get Latin jazz, salsa and their successors.
A lot of Black and Latin music and dance has Creole roots. It has Spanish- and Portuguese- and even British-African influences too, but the French-African contribution is just not talked about.
Somehow the story is connected to Haiti, formerly the French sugar colony Saint-Domingue. Being the richest French colony and the richest sugar colony in the Caribbean, it influenced the entire region. The Haitian Revolution caused a diaspora across the Caribbean, including to New Orleans which was originally a French city anyway.
The French-Creole story has been suppressed because after the Haitian Revolution slavers feared uprisings. In the United States Jim Crow (institutional racism from the U.S. Civil War to today) destroyed this sophisticated, highly-educated community of African-Americans.
Still we are left with a rich legacy of music and dance from the Creole community and it’s still around in the Caribbean.
When jazz found its way to Europe with the Harlem Hellfighters in World War I, the French immediately loved with it. Probably without knowing why, they instinctively felt a bit of themselves in the rich Creole music we now call jazz.