Haitian music groups celebrate Carnival

Haitians celebrate Carnival through "Rara", a musical genre used for street processions and festivals.


Jacmel, Haiti - Thousands of people flock to the centre of Jacmel - a town located on the southern coast of Haiti - for its annual Carnival event. Parades of vividly coloured dancers snake along the street, as hundreds of people wearing masks - their faces and bodies painted  in a kaleidoscope of hues - can be seen on every corner.

Haiti's Carnival stems from similar celebrations held around the Christian festival of Easter, but instead incorporates voodoo culture and Afro-Haitian heritage. It also heavily employs Rara, a musical genre used mostly for street processions and festivals. 

Rara utilises the sounds of vaksen, a trumpet-like instrument often made from bamboo or scrap metal, along with metal bells, maracas and drums. 

The genre also incorporates satire - parodying past and current political leaders - as well as voodoo ceremonies, and the rich vein of mythology which flows through this island nation. Some people also credit Rara with inspiring dissent and protests under the hard-line rule of former President Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who was eventually ousted in a 1986 revolution.