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Creole Choir of Cuba
Prepare to be blown away: hear the passionate melodies, wild harmonies and richly textured arrangements of these ten inspiring vocalists and you will know this is something new from Cuba, the most original vocal sound to come out of the island in a long while. The Creole Choir’s Cuban name Desandann means literally ‘descendants’ and with songs like Papa Danbala, Tandé or Liman Casimir they tell the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to work in the near slave conditions in the sugar and coffee plantations until the 1959 Revolution. Desandann sings 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.
Multiple award winners, this Grammy-nominated Choir sings the vital music learnt at home from grandparents and parent as well as the songs of some of the foremost groups of contemporary Haitian scene. From laments to protest songs like Tandé, permeated by the homesickness of exile and the eternal dream of returning ‘home’, to ritual prayers and celebratory freedom dances, each song tells a powerful Haitian story kept alive in Cuba. The Creole Choir have taken these songs back to Haiti where their enthusiastic reception at festivals around the island has inspired them to learn direct from Haitian artists. As they sing in Eden Chanté – Listen to us
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