Haitian Folk Music

Haitian Folk Music

The result of hundreds of years of a rich multi-national history is several distinct and vibrant musical cultural heritages. One of the most prominent manifestations of these heritages is in traditional group-specific music styles. Most of these old practices have their roots in the social progression that took place in the fifty years predating and following the Haitian Revolution. Within them is weaved a historic reflection of the struggles, successes, and frustrations of the people who lived then.

Haitian Folk Music - Rara Dance
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There are several different kinds of Haitian folk music, each drawing from a particular influence in the country’s past and each including a special kind of dance. Many of the names are loaned from French vocabulary and are bent into Creole dialect.

By exploring the older kinds of music in Haiti’s history, one is able to better appreciate the foundation from whence the predominant and popular Haitian musical genres came. We encourage you to explore the information in each article and try to appreciate these origins empathetically. The five main subgenres of Haitian folk music are Affranchi, Kontradans, Meringue, Rara, and Twoubadou.

Please click on the links below to learn more.

Affranchi: The Colonial Dance

Kontradans: Haitian Contra Dancing

Méringue: The Whipped-Egg Dance

Rara: Easter Week Voodoo Music

Twoubadou: Risqué Love Songs

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