Creole Choir of Cuba
This vibrant 10-piece group — five men and five women who dance when they sing — are a cornucopia of remarkable voices. Multiple award winners, this Grammy-nominated choir sings the vital music learned at home from grandparents and parents, as well as the songs of some of the foremost groups of contemporary Haitian scene. The Creole Choir’s Cuban name Desandann means literally ‘descendants.’ With songs like Papa Danbala, Tandé, or Liman Casimir, they tell the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to work in the near slave conditions in the sugar and coffee plantations until the 1959 Revolution.
Desandann sing in Creole, Cuba’s second language, spoken by almost a million people, a pragmatic fusion of African, French, and other languages. It’s the language of a people twice exiled: first to Haiti from Africa through the slave trade; then from Haiti to Cuba tricked into second slavery by their French masters after the Haitian Revolution of 1790. Other Haitians arrived in the 20th century fleeing political upheaval, poverty and oppression during the barbaric regime of Papa Doc Duvalier who held power from the 1950s to ’70s — marked by reigns of terror and the brutality of his private militia, the Tonton Macoutes. The Philadelphia Inquirer calls the choir’s performance “as much for the emotions and gut as it is for the ears and eyes.”
This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the General Mills Foundation.