Orchestre Septentrional: For 6 Decades, the Sound of Good News in Haiti

STM Productions
A concert in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, top, in the film “When the Drum Is Beating,” about the Orchestre Septentrional.

Since the founding of the Orchestre Septentrional in 1948, the band’s homeland, Haiti, has endured the nearly three-decade Duvalier family dictatorship, 26 other governments, a foreign intervention, a devastating earthquake and, most recently, a cholera epidemic.

Through it all Septen, as the group is known to its fans, has been that rare Haitian entity that functions flawlessly.

Onstage, whether playing an elegant ballroom or an outdoors festival in the countryside, Septen is a dynamo, with a heady combination of drums and horns driving dancers onto their feet. But to Haitians, Septen’s ability to thrive when all else seems to be falling apart makes the orchestra something more — a bulwark and a solace.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/arts/music/when-the-drum-is-beating-about-orchestre-septentrional.html?_r=2

View more photos here: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/04/11/arts/20120411SEPTEN.html

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About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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