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.