BélO brings Haiti to the Midcoast
Rockland — Bay Chamber Concerts dives into new musical territory this fall in presenting Haitian reggae star BélO Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St. A young, socially conscious singer/songwriter, BélO and his five-piece band deliver a high-energy mix of jazz, worldbeat, rock, R&B, reggae and Afro-Haitian traditional rhythm.
BélO’s remarkable voice and dynamic live performances powerfully connect the music of his native island to the vibrant Parisian Afro-global music scene. Long established as a platform for the finest classical chamber music, Bay Chamber Concerts has announced an October-to-June series that re-positions the organization within Midcoast Maine’s vibrant music scene.
Born in Haiti in 1979, BélO has been hailed as Haiti’s musical ambassador to the world with a sophisticated sound. He and his band have won numerous awards including the prestigious Prix Radio France International Discoveries of 2006 with a sound that is a sublime mixture of jazz, worldbeat, rock, Reggae and Afro-Haitian traditional rhythms known as ragganga. He cites Jamaican reggae/dancehall star Buju Banton as one of his primary inspirations.
With the two albums already under his belt —“Lakou Trankil” (2005) and "Reference" (2008), sung in his rich and colorful native language, Haitian Creole — BélO has established himself as a Haitian/international artist signpost.
After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, BélO's home was fractured and he was able to relocate temporarily in France with the help of Cultures France. During that time, BélO's primary focus was to create awareness for his country at various performances around the world. Upon returning to Haiti, BélO's third album, last year’s "Haiti Debout (Haiti Stand-up),” was released under Radio France/France Info and distributed globally by Harmonia Mundi. Already on the first leg of the "Haiti Debout" tour, BélO has performed in Germany, Rome, Romania, France and the United States. In addition to his musical success, BélO’s humanitarian work to rebuild Haiti has been featured on PBS’ “Frontline.”
Seating will be general admission. Tickets are $35; $25 for those age 21 to 35; and $10 for those younger than 22. Subscribers can save up to 25 percent by attending multiple events this season. For more information and tickets, call the box office at 236-2823 or visit baychamberconcerts.org.
BélO’s Midcoast visit is thanks in part to his participation in Center Stage, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that brings compelling contemporary artists from Haiti, Indonesia and Pakistan to the United States. Administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts, with funding from the Asian Cultural Council, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, this public-private partnership is the largest public diplomacy effort to bring foreign artists to American stages in recent history.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.