A nonsequential sound installation in three parts
On his first visit to the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti, Belgian artist Tom Bogaert heard something familiar in the rara marching music that was being played in the streets of Port-au-Prince. Already doing work on the interplanetary jazz legend Sun Ra’s visit to Egypt in the early 1970s, Bogaert read in the dog-eared pages of an old copy of the Lonely Planet that Sun Ra was also rumoured to have visited Haiti, perhaps ten years earlier, during his so-called ‘lost years.’
It was even said that Sun Ra might have composed his masterpiece Rocket Number Nine, in Port-au-Prince. What Bogaert heard in the streets made him believe this could be true and, even more so, he found out that Rocket Number Nine has its roots in the traditional rara song Fize Nimewo Nèf.
Bogaert collaborated with the local rara band Kod Kreyòl to study and rehearse the somewhat forgotten Fize Nimewo Nèf, and a Clocktower Radio sound engineer recorded some of the early morning practice sessions that took place in the garden of the Oloffson Hotel. A while later, Kod Kreyòl performed Fize Nimewo Nèf at a now legendary concert in downtown Port-au-Prince featuring Masha Dabelka and her Rakete Nummer Neun.
Thank you! Kod Kreyòl: Arnaud Lauture (Chef d’orchestre – Maestro Tambourineur) Josil Joseph Rebert (Adjoint Tambourineur) Jean Ernst (Tambourineur) Nadine Frédérique (Chanteuse – Lead Vocal) Béatrice Frédérique (Chanteuse – Chœur) Vladimir Grégoire (Maestro du Cornet) Remy Robenson (Maestro du Cornet) Jules Ceremond (Cornet) George Elie Voyard (Cornet) Nestor Ricardo (Cornet) and Annel Saintermont (Grage) Ghetto Biennale: Andre Eugene, Leah Gordon, Lazaros, Liz Woodroffe, Cat Barich, Evel Romain, Maccha Kasparian, and Claudel Casseus Sound: Richard Arthur Fleming Album covers: Michel Lafleur, Patrick Elie, Brinele James Telus, Leah Gordon, Zé Kielwagen, Kwynn Johnson, Jean Louis Lens, Michael K. Taylor, Radhika Khimji, Anna Sebastian, Lee Lee, Jean Robert Alexis, Mackendy Tidé, JRM, Henrike Naumann, Steve Thales, Alexandre Esther, Gustavo Caboco, Jerry Jonatan, Gina Cunningham, Alexon Istia, and Jean-Claude Saintilus.
Installation view bb15 – Space for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria.
Photos by Laurien Bachmann.
During my visit to the 2013 Ghetto Biennale, I witnessed rara music in the streets of Haiti. Already researching Sun Ra’s visit to Egypt in the early 70’s, I discovered that the jazz legend had visited Haiti ten years earlier. It was in Port-au-Prince that he composed his masterpiece Rocket Number Nine, a track that bears striking resemblance to the traditional rara song Fize nimewo nèf.
In November 2015, I invited the rara band Kod Kreyòl to rehearse the forgotten track Fize nimewo nèf. They subsequently performed it at Lakou Twoket in downtown Port-au-Prince.
Sun Ra Ra was commissioned by the 4th Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Clocktower Radio interview
Art in America
Kod Kreyòl a.k.a. the Sun Ra Ra band
Chef d’orchestre – Maestro Tambourineur
Josil Joseph Rebert
Chanteuse – Lead Vocal
Chanteuse – Chœur
Maestro du Cornet
Maestro du Cornet
George Elie Voyard
Photos by Lazaros
Installation view Studio Jean-Claude Saintilus
Album covers: Michel Lafleur, Patrick Elie, Brinele James Telus, Leah Gordon, Zé Kielwagen, Kwynn Johnson, Jean Louis Lens, Michael K. Taylor, Radhika Khimji, Anna Sebastian, Lee Lee, Jean Robert Alexis, Mackendy Tidé, JRM, Henrike Neuman, Steve Thales, Alexandre Esther, Gustavo Caboco, Jerry Jonatan, Gina Cunningham, Alexon Istia, and Jean-Claude Saintilus.