Traditional Haitian Rara Music at Little Haiti Cultural Center

In Haitian tradition, 'Rara' is a brilliant and colorful music festival that takes place throughout the Easter Week, following the Easter Sunday. The songs are always performed in Haitian Kreyòl that speaks about the African ancestry of the Afro-Haïtian masses and it blends the Voodoo and Christian influences with rhythms that vary across the Caribbean country. This tradition started when French colonization was still strong during the later part of the 17th century, and while the African-Haitian sugar plantation workers were riling up to gain independence. During the slave revolution, the Haitian slaves also fought culturally against their ruler with their new art, music, and dance forms. Today, Rara is a part of Haitian life; it is where you can hear all the latest gossips and happenings in Haitian life.


'Rara music' is one form of grass root music which is used for mainly street processions, typically during Easter Week; it circulates throughout Haiti and within the minds of its diaspora all over the world. It is like the heartbeat that has kept alive the frequent street parties in the Little Haiti neighborhood. To preserve this Haitian form of festival music a youth 'Rara institute' has been created at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in partnership with the Caribbean American Visual Cultural Preservation where the teens can learn to play and make traditional instruments. The center entertains visitors with Rara music on the third Friday of each month.

The Little Haiti Cultural Center had started the Rara learning program on February 2, 2015, twice a week for 16 weeks with a sanction funding of $50,000 received and had provided instruments to 60 children. The instruments of Rara music include a set of cylindrical bamboo trumpets called vaksen (sometimes made of metal pipes), drums, güiros or güiras (a percussion instrument), maracas, and metal bells. Sometimes cylindrical metal trumpets are also played which are made from recycled metal, often coffee cans. This is another unique opportunity offered by Little Haiti Cultural Center to gain exposure to Afro-Caribbean culture, entertain and develop a new talent, and expand the knowledge of the arts. The center's program of workshops and classes were culminated with the Haitian Heritage Festival in May 2015.

Reply to this article

Read more: little haiti, Little Haiti Cultural Center, Rara, Entertainment

« Delmas Viaduct costing over 10 million more then estimated for | Main | Dominicans want to talk as product ban could cost them 500 millions a year »

Return to Articles List

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

E-mail (required, will not be published)

Subject: Traditional Haitian Rara Music at Little Haiti Cultural Center edit

» »

Our objective is to share with you news and information about Haiti and the people of Haiti. Traditions, habits and the way we were  or  grew are alive in this site. We highly recommend that you Subscribe to our Newsletter and also share with us some of the things that are memorable and made us unique people.