Haitian rara music finds its beat with students Children practice choreographed moves around plastic buckets used as drums while learning how to play Haitian rara music at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Haitian rara music finds its beat with students
Lexile

Traditional Haitian music called rara pulses like a heartbeat through Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood. It's kept alive in frequent street parties and now in a more formal classroom setting that educators hope will carry it beyond a core group of immigrant performers.
 
In Haiti, rara (RAH-rah) season comes in the weeks before Easter. Dancers, singers, drummers and players of handmade horns take to the streets and lead their followers on revels that could last hours and sometimes days.
 
Like many traditions in Haiti, rara has its roots in Africa. It blends Christian and Voodoo influences with rhythms that vary across the Caribbean country.
 
Each season brings new songs on topical subjects and rara holds an important place in Haiti's political discourse. Every gathering is a chance to catch up on the latest community news as well.
 
"Rara is really where you hear all the gossip, just like when you go to a barber shop," said Weiselande Cesar, whose cultural education group Tradisyon Lakou Lakay led a rara workshop for children at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex recently.
 
Rara instruments typically include bamboo or plastic trumpets, horns made from scrapped tin or aluminum and drums strapped to the players to allow them to move freely.
 
In Cesar's class, children ranging from kindergarteners to tweens used short, hollow batons to bang on blue plastic buckets for drums.
 
Professional musicians playing traditional drums set a steady rhythm - BOM-BOM, BOM-BOM - which Cesar described as an opening prayer. The children kept the beat for almost two hours while Cesar taught older students to carry their buckets in choreography that led them in serpentine lines through the class.
 
Meanwhile, Wilnord Emile of the Miami-based professional band Rara Lakay taught his 10-year-old son and three other children to play aluminum horns, blending their single-note tones in bursts with the drumbeats. The effort left them sometimes gasping for air, cheeks puffed.
 
The summer workshop is the start of a long-term program to incorporate rara and other traditional Haitian music and dance into after-school programs, said the center's managing director, Sandy Dorsainvil.
 
"We also realized that a lot of the techniques and a lot of the traditional songs are not recorded," she said. "It's not often taught, so we wanted to be able to teach this formally and then hopefully the tradition will keep on."

Filed Under:  
Assigned 6 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is rara a good fit for classrooms?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (4)
  • fallkatz20510@ccps.org-har
    8/31/2015 - 08:17 a.m.

    By teaching rara to the children can help preserve Haitian traditions. Also, rara can bring up new topics throughout the seasons. Another plus to teaching rara is that teaching children how to play instruments can help improve other core skills such as math. Rhythm in music can tie in with counting and beats in a measure. I believe that rara is a good fit for classrooms.

  • cordpier15347@ccps.org-har
    8/31/2015 - 08:23 a.m.

    Rara is a tradition from Africa that’s been carried on for years. It’s a good fit for the classroom because it’s not often taught, so the teachers teach the students so they can carry on traditions for a long time. They live in a little Haitian neighborhood, so where they are determines what they learn or how they live. Physical location determines how people in that area do certain things.

  • monayoun18247@ccps.org-har
    8/31/2015 - 09:10 a.m.

    I think that Haitian RaRa music is in culture because this is the music that has rooted from Africa but became apart of Haitian culture because it is a tradition. I also believe that physical location comes in to play. So because Haiti is an island and island music usually incorporates drums and instruments of that nature that they just naturally adapted that as apart of RaRa

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/23/2016 - 03:17 p.m.

    The Haitian rara music might have been able to find its beat the students that are going to participate in the music class that the students would be practicing before the performance on the streets. The students might have been practicing the performance on the streets that the students would be doing the performance of the rara music that the students would be doing in front of the people. The people might have wanted to get the rara to be getting a good fit for classrooms because the people might have wanted to get other students in the classrooms to be doing well. People might have wanted to get the students to be motivated with the rara music which people might have wanted to get other students to be doing the rara in the classrooms.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why is rara a good fit for classrooms?
    Answer: I know that the rara is a good fit for classrooms because the rara music might have gotten the students to be listening to the rara while doing their works in the classrooms.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT