International jazz festival in post-quake Haiti promotes music, education among Haitian musicians

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Repeating Islands

An international jazz festival in Haiti hopes to attract fans and artists with support of local embassies in the earthquake-ravaged country. The festival is more than a marketing tool, say organizers. Jacqueline Charles reports for The Miami Herald.

The improvised scales of the soprano saxophone dance off the soundproof walls, creating a mosaic of sound fused by African and Haitian rhythms.

This mélange of Caribbean, American and European cultures is not what one immediately associates with Haiti, an island nation known for chaos and konpa, the slow, timed Haitian meringue swayed by horns and electronic keyboards.

But the introduction of Creole jazz, and its growing popularity, represents part of this nation’s cultural rebirth. Here, inside a gingerbread architecture-inspired French cultural center rebuilt after the earthquake near the ruins of downtown, Creole jazz is having its moment as Thurgot Theodat’s weathered sax transforms the American-born art form across barriers of…

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