Mardi Gras celebrations are underway in Haiti, with a surprise band from Canada


Popular Haitian musicians performed on Jacmel’s Carnival concert stage this past weekend in Jacmel, Haiti.

Also there was RĂ©gine Chassagne and Win Butler. They’re the power couple behind Montreal alt-rock band Arcade Fire. Chassagne says they were basically there to have fun.

“Ha! I don’t know where we fit in. We’re just celebrating, offering what we have, we’re a band, so we’re going to play music. Some people bring food. So we’re bringing music.”

Arcade Fire has wanted to perform during Jacmel Carnival for a long time.

The band has been working with the non-profit organization Partners in Health for a while. In fact, for each concert ticket the band sells, $1 goes to the NGO.

For Chassagne, the group’s involvement in Haiti is very personal. She went down there for the first time after her mom passed away a few years ago. The trips have been cathartic and also familar.

“I could really relate to it and it just made me realize how much you can absorb just from your parents,” she says. “It was basically how I imagined it.”

But for the other members of Arcade Fire who don’t have this personal connection the trip is just as exciting.

They’re bringing their music to cross-pollinate with the music in Haiti.

“It’s hard as a musician to be surrounded by such a deep music experience and not want to participate in some way,” Win Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire says. “I mean that’s really how I see us being here, it’s not like anyone in Haiti has really heard of us, so it’s really more of a participatory thing.”


Author: `