Some say that you cannot separate music from dance in Haiti.
Haitian music has been influenced by many different sources, including American
jazz and Spanish-influenced music from Cuba. The national dance is the
méringue. In the 1950s two celebrated composers and band leaders,
Nemours Jean-Baptiste and Weber Sicot, introduced a new style of recreational dance
music called Compas Direct or Cadence Rampa. The music scene has
expanded over the past few years, with the introduction of Salsa and Reggae, but
Compas Direct is the most popular form of dance. A number of Haitian groups,
such as Tabou Combo and Coupé Cloué, have achieved international
Haitian art has its roots in the paintings that covered the
walls of Voodoo temples. Some of the best representations of the spirit world can be
found there. The development of art was encouraged in the newly independent republic
in the early 19th century. A number of small art schools were set up. Early artists
painted portraits or depicted religious scenes. Contemporary Haitian artists such as
Gérard Valcin or Jacques Gourgues have drawn inspiration from everyday life in
Haiti to create internationally acclaimed works of art.
Did you know? |
The popular Caribbean song, "Yellow Bird," was originally a Haitian lullaby.
Port-au-Prince is considered the centre of cultural and
intellectual life. The nation's most important museums, libraries and entertainment
facilities are located here. With the opening of the Centre des Arts in Port-au-Prince
in 1944, Haitian art started to become well known throughout the world. The works of
many of the more famous artists such as the painter Hector Hyppolite are exhibited in
major galleries in the United States and France. The artistic talent of Haitians is
also shown in many of the local handicrafts, including wood carvings.
Most Haitian literature is written in French. Recently, efforts have
been made to promote Creole as a literary language. A number of Haitian authors are
internationally recognized, such as Jean Price-Mars (1876-1969). His books tell of
the black African heritage in Haitian culture. Jacques Roumain wrote Gouverneurs
de la rosée (Masters of the Dew) in 1944. It is one of Haiti's best-known
novels. Another famous Haitian writer is René Depestre. He is viewed as Haiti's
greatest living writer. His books include novels and poetry.