Photos from a big Big Night in Little Haiti

By | March 19th, 2011 | 10 Comments
Big Night in Little Haiti

Mourning, then raising the dead through dance at Big Night in Little Haiti.

Can’t say I had high expectations for the first Big Night in Little Haiti, a(nother) Knight-funded culture infusion produced by the Rhythm Foundation that I decided to go to last second and would have jilted for any this-or-that that presented itself. Set at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, billed as a bridge between a “beleaguered” neighborhood and Greater Miami, this thing had orchestrated fun (i.e., not fun) written all over it.

Turns out, it was the shit.

Pokito & Jean P Jam opened things up with a set of world beat music. (I don’t know what “world beat music” means, but that’s what Pokito calls it.) That was solid. But things really got good when a small woman in all white and a knotted headdress sang plaintively into the breezy dusk for an hour straight as dancers acted out a ritual I’m powerless to interpret or describe other than to say it involved draping a stricken child with a Haitian flag, fire eating (not to be confused with its less mind boggling cousin-feat, fire breathing), and a Lazarus-like raising of the dead of said stricken child, who I believe symbolized Haiti herself.

In a word, Vodou.

Eventually, a very full band — horns, percussion, bass, a guitarist named Buffalo, three torch-bearing backup singers — took the stage led by keyboardist and dreaded dynamo Rara Kuyu, who, at about five-foot-flat, successfully put the “Big” in “Big Night” with an hour of Caribbean-Afro fusion.

Perhaps too big. Big Night in Little Haiti is scheduled for every third Friday of the month, and it is hard to see how the next go-round will top the first. But after last night, I wouldn’t put it past La Petite Ha├»ti.

Here are some photos from the event.

Fire Eater


Hold the Child

Dance at Big Night Little Haiti

King of the Flame

Rara Kuyu

Feet in the Fire

Photos by Robby Campbell. More photos in Facebook.

10 Comments on “Photos from a big Big Night in Little Haiti”

  1. 1 kaelsie said at 8:55 am on March 19th, 2011:

    Well, I don’t know why you had such low expectations. The Rhythm Foundation has never disappointed me. They put on some pretty great events.

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 8:59 am on March 19th, 2011:

    @Kaelsie I’d only been to one other Rhythm Foundation event, Yann Tiersen at the Grand Central, which was also good. But like I say, my doubts went up in flames pretty quickly.

  3. 3 Laura Quinlan said at 11:30 pm on March 20th, 2011:

    Next month we have one of the coolest Haitian dance bands, Zenglen – it is going to be really nice. Thanks for posting the AWESOME photos.

  4. 4 Leah said at 8:35 am on March 22nd, 2011:

    I will have to catch next month’s, for sure.

  5. 5 Gio said at 1:06 pm on March 22nd, 2011:

    Did anyone take photos of the opening act, JP Jam?

  6. 6 Jordan Melnick said at 1:19 pm on March 22nd, 2011:

    Yeah, there’s a few on facebook.

  7. 7 Steve Strizver said at 2:07 pm on March 22nd, 2011:

    100% with the “doubts up in flames” idea! Was a GREAT NIGHT, totally beating expectations, and a great sign in terms of hope for the area and the concept: Hats off to Laura and ALL..!

  8. 8 DowntownFoodie said at 5:24 pm on April 5th, 2011:

    Wow, this sounds so amazing! I’m so sad I was stuck home with homework. I was so looking forward to it. Stunning photos, by the way! Thanks for a great article!

  9. 9 Jordan Melnick said at 5:28 pm on April 5th, 2011:

    @DowntownFoodie Thanks. You should check out sounds from the night on our last podcast.

  10. 10 John F said at 9:01 pm on April 12th, 2011:

    The Rhythm Foundation is amazing! They never fail to deliver high quality music and well produced events. Thanks to RF and the Knight Foundation for shining a light on the vibrant cultural life of Little Haiti.

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