Rhythm Foundation director Laura Quinlan in Haiti

Laura Quinlan, Rhythm Foundation Director, has been putting on Big Night in Little Haiti for the past three years. She received an invite to participate in a National Performance Network Tour in Port-au-Prince and signed on immediately. She and others landed at Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport, where a Twoubadou band serenaded them.


First stop was in toney Peguy-Ville, where singer BelO is riding the crest of La Nouvelle Scene. He curated an exclusive showcase of performers, steeped in a hybrid roots-jazz-world rhythm music being exposed internationally through BelO's global renown. Singers, Rutshelle Guillaume, Darlene Desca; reggae stars Rebel Layonn; boy band 4 Harmony, and other traditional roots music stars like Sanba Zao rounded out the evening.

The following afternoon was a visit to Petion-Ville's Jean-Rene Delsoin Dance Company to view a rehearsal, and a stop at Port-au-Prince's Oloffson Hotel to meet Haitian dancer Jean Appolon and voudou-rock RAM leader, Richard Morse.

Next stop was to Collectif Hors-Jeu Theater Company for a dress rehearsal of Symphonie Urbaine, blending spoken word, poetry, cabaret, and dance elements to create an extraordinary performance experience.

Last was a visit to Martissant Parc, 42-square acres of medicinal gardens, botanical gardens, recreational spaces, and a Katherine Dunham memorial library. The park was formed from four estates, one of them being the home of Ms. Dunham, a famous dancer and collector of cultural artifacts. Although still a work in progress, the tour group was invited to come and experience its beauty.

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