Wyclef Jean & More Stars Celebrate Haitian Culture At Michaël Brun’s Bayo Concert
This past Saturday, the streets of New York City were painted red, white, and blue in commemoration of Haitian Flag Day (May 21). As a Haitian invasion assembled at Pier 17 for the return of DJ and record producer Michal Brun's Bayo, "a cultural collective and concert," the East River cityscape shone brilliantly.
Bayo, which means "to give" in Haitian Kreyl, is a touring performance that celebrates the Caribbean country's rich and varied history, culture, and music, presenting performers from the island, the West Indies, and the African diaspora.
"The primary thing I'd want people to know about Haitian music is how incredibly diversified it is because there's everything," the 30-year-old Port-au-Prince native told VIBE exclusively. "I believe you'll be astonished if you do some digging."
Haiti's flag was formally established on May 18, 1803 during the first Black republic's revolt against the French (the actual date of the holiday). Pier 17's spectacular glass lightband bathed the shoreline in red and blue to commemorate the anniversary and as part of Bayo, providing a symbolic background for a sea of fluttering banners.
An unusual array of Haitian and foreign singers performed, including Anie Alerte, Baky, and Bonaire-born singer Ir Sais, who sang "Validé" with Creole crooners Mikaben and JPerry.
"It was crucial for me to promote my culture and music among my Haitian friends." Kompa and Zouk, which are rooted in Haitian music, have profoundly inspired my work. "We are all from the Caribbean, colonized by different European nations, but we all have the same roots in Africa and our native island tribes," Ir Sais explained to VIBE about the significance of participating in Bayo, which the Deeper artist described as "one of my favorite on-stage experiences in my career."
JPerry, Michael Brun's real-life first cousin, also performed on stage with Soca singer Kes for their slow-wine anthem "Liki Tiki," which Brun produced and the VIBE video aired in April. In in short than a month, the partnership just hit one million views on YouTube. Brun described the song as a "world song," adding that it has elements of Soca, Kompa, and other Caribbean genres as well as Latin and African music.
Kes commended Brun's "global breadth" and commented on the historical divisions between Caribbean nations based on cultural and linguistic disparities. The opportunity to play "Liki Tiki" for the first time at Bayo was described as "a dream for me to see us unite in our sounds, overcome linguistic boundaries, and truly come together and work together towards uniting our movement."
"It was incredible! "I felt like I received a crash education in Haitian culture," the "Jolene" singer continued.
Brun proceeded to display his Haitian patriotism with performances by the Grammy-nominated Mizik Rasin band Boukman Eksperyans and T-Jo Zenny, the lead singer of Compas band Kreyl La, both of which enthralled the audience, particularly the Zoes.
"You never know who you'll run across at one of the performances," Brun teased. He flexed his business credentials even further by inviting additional unexpected visitors to the Bayo stage, including Latin superstar J Balvin, who played his big single "Mi Gente" and the 2018 World Cup theme song "Positivo," which the Columbian vocalist co-wrote with Brun.
Still, the highlight of Bayo's performance was clearly when Wyclef Jean ascended the stage to finish the evening. The Haitian ambassador played excerpts from some of his most popular songs, including the Fugees' Hip-Hop hit "Fu-Gee-La" and his moving duet with Mary J. Blige, "911."
The heavy rooftop air gradually began to cool as the lights came on and the crowded throng began to move toward the exits. Stragglers were treated to one more surprise when a traditional Rara band, replete with drums and banbous (bamboo one-note trumpets), joined the throng in a lively song and dance, bringing Bayo 2022 to a close with a boom.
Listen for the sound of banbous in your city for Bayo's next visit, see Kes live in Toronto at Iz We Toronto on July 23, and see Ir Sais' fresh new video for "Flauta" with Farina and Konshens below.
Find DJ More Music NG to be useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!META TAGS