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World on 3 - Creole Choir of Cuba


Lopa Kothari with the latest sounds from around the globe and the Creole Choir of Cuba in session. The Creole Choir of Cuba, in the UK for their appearances at the 2010 London Jazz Festival, tell the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to work in near slave conditions in the sugar and coffee plantations, through a vibrant mix of singing and percussion. The Choir sing in Creole, Cuba's second language, spoken by almost a million people, a pragmatic fusion of African, French and other languages. It's the language of a people twice exiled: first to Haiti from Africa through the iniquitous slave trade; then from Haiti to Cuba tricked into second slavery by their French masters after the Haitian Revolution of 1790. Other Haitians arrived in the 20th century fleeing political upheaval, poverty and oppression during the barbaric regime of Papa Doc Duvalier which held power from the 1950s to 70s, marked by reigns of terror and the brutality of his private militia, the Tonton Macoutes. The Choir - five men and five women - decided to re-forge the resistance songs and laments of their forebears, to celebrate the history of their Haitian descendents enslaved to the Caribbean from West Africa. To the songs that had been passed down in their families since the early 19th century, they added more modern Haitian sounds.

Music