RaRa for Haiti

What is a RaRa, anyway?

RaRa for Haiti is a celebration of Haiti's hope, beauty, and culture and a reminder that they still need much help to rebuild for the future.  It is an attempt to bring together two cultures that share an enormous amount of history, tradition, and spirit.

As you may know, "second lines" are a significant part of New Orleans culture.  A "second lines" is a street parade led by a brass band (the "main line" of the parade) and followed by dancers and walkers who join the celebration (making up the "second line").

Haiti has a similar street parade tradition led by a rara band.  The band typically plays a bamboo trumpet (featured to the left) called a vaksen, drums, maracas, guiras/guiros, metal bells, and other hand made instruments.  The band plays songs in Haitian Kreyol, and they typically celebrate during the Lenten season, just after New Orleans Carnival.  Raras in Haiti celebrate the African ancestry of the Afro-Haitian masses, and Vodou practices are an integral part of the procession.  They are spiritual and cultural celebrations.

For further information about a rara, click here!

A rara band performing for the documentary The Other Side of the Water: The Journey of a Haitian Rara Band in Brooklyn [Photo: Johny Jacques]