I still worry about Haiti everyday, and continue to dig through it’s rich musical culture frequently. I’ve been reading Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora albeit kind of slowly and have been envisioning the existence of some kind of Vasken horn Juke hybrid along with NA from NGUZUNGUZU. I lack electronic music in my collection, but I usually like to start from the root anyways (you think I jumped on Kwaito and Kuduro without a healthy dose of Folkways, Ocora, and Fela Kuti? Hell no). One genre which I’ve been on the hunt for lately is Muzik Rasin, something that I’ve had a little trouble finding much of aside from the vast databases of Youtube videos. To put it in perspective, there are common elements sonically between Rara and Rasin, but Rara is a Lenten celebration that happens after Carnival, and continues until Easter Sunday or Monday. Rasin isn’t so much traditional Vodou music, but rather a product of popular music from the states and the Caribbean meshing with political uprise. It’s a bit more spacious, less chaotic on the horns tip, and shouldn’t be confused with it’s counterpart. Rasin stems from the 70s Duvalier dictatorship, with elements of protest and Bob Marleyesque black power “Hippiedom”. Rasin means “root” in the local language, so you get the idea. It’s a bit like Haiti’s equivalent to Highlife, incorporating the likes of Disco, Funk, and Reggae with Vodou practice. Very popular during Carnival, and has enjoyed some commercial success thanks to bands like Boukman Eksperyans.
Don’t bother clicking the link above for video, I just felt I had to pause this insane video. Watch it here. And as a bonus, here is a nice Rasin tune from Haitian pop star Carole Demesmin.
Carole Demesmin – Musik Rasin (I don’t know if this is actually the right title…it probably isn’t, sorry!)