Boukman Eksperyans (English: Boukman Experience) is a mizik rasin band from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Grammy nominated for their debut album Vodou Adjae. The band derives its name from Dutty Boukman, a vodou priest who led a religious ceremony in 1791 that is widely considered the start of the Haitian Revolution. The other half of the band's name, "Eksperyans", is the Haitian Creole word for "experience", and was inspired by the band's appreciation of the music of Jimi Hendrix. [1] The band was at the height of its popularity in 1991 when the presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a military coup d'etat. Like many other artists and performers, Boukman Eksperyans fled the country to live in exile. During their time abroad, the band performed and spoke out against the military dictatorship of Raoul Cédras. In 1994, after Aristide was restored to power, the band returned to Haiti, where they continued to play concerts, record albums, and perform at the Carnival celebrations.

Boukman Eksperyans
Theodore Lolo Beaubrun, Lead Singer
Theodore Lolo Beaubrun, Lead Singer
Background information
OriginPort-au-Prince, Haiti
GenresMizik rasin
Years active1978–present
LabelsMango Records
Island Records
Tuff Gong International
Converge Records
Balenjo Music
MembersTheodore "Lòlò" Beaubrun, Lead Singer
Mimerose "Manzè" Beaubrun, Lead Singer
Gary Seney, Percussionist
Henry Pierre Joseph, Percussionist
Hans "Bwa Gris" Dominique, Percussionist
Maquel Jean Baptiste, Guitar
Jean Lourdy Coiscou, Keyboards
Willy Calixte, Bass Guitar
Raymond "Samba Drol" Lexis, Percussionist
Ted Gabriel Beaubrun, Tanbou/Artistic Director
Gerald Alfred, Guitar
Michel Melthon Lynch, Bass guitar
Natacha Massillon, Backup vocals
Louis "Toto" Eliphète, Percussionist
Moliere "Moali"Calice, Percussion/Drums
Johanne Dejean, "Dancer"
Johanne Colas, "Dancer"

History edit

Boukman Eksperyans was founded in 1978[2] by Theodore Beaubrun Jr., nicknamed Lolo, Marjorie Beaubrun (Lolo's sister), Daniel Beaubrun, Mimerose Beaubrun (nicknamed Manze, Lolo's wife), and members of various other groups who launched the mizik rasin revolution in Haiti in the late 1970s. One of these groups was led by Fanfan Alexis, and included the future musicians of such groups as Group Sa, Foula, and Rara Machine. Lolo's father, Théodore Beaubrun [fr] (also known by his stage name Languichatte Debordus) was a comedian and was often referred to as the Bill Cosby of Haiti. While on tour in the United States, he brought back a James Brown LP which left a lasting impression on young Lolo. After his parents divorced, he followed his mother to Brooklyn, New York.[citation needed] He studied in the United States.[3]

Lolo returned to Haiti in 1978, where some bands were playing music known as minidjaz. To Lolo, they seemed to pay no attention to song lyrics that dealt with reality. They were even accused of aligning too closely to the Duvaliers. When Lolo and Mimerose began to seek their musical goals, they felt a strong desire to incorporate the African element in Haiti's culture into their music. They decided to combine roots music with vodou religious and musical traditions.[citation needed]

Lolo's grandfather was deeply involved in vodou, but his parents never made this available to him. Lolo and Mimerose entered their first vodou lakou-s, a Haitian spiritual community, where they met musicians and singers. They also got their first real glance at the African culture of Haiti in the form it was handed down from members of various tribes. They founded a group to study vodou music, giving it the name of Moun Ife ("People of the Abode of the Deities").[citation needed] Lolo stated that Bob Marley was another important musical inspiration.[3] When he heard the Jamaican legend in 1976, he thought he could create something similar in Haiti with vodou. Lolo and Mimerose began to perform as a live act in the 1980s.[citation needed]

The traditional roots instruments were replaced by electric instruments, like the bass guitar and two guitars played by members Eddy François and Daniel Beaubrun, Lolo's brother and the band's chief arranger.[citation needed] Fanfan Alexis, the group's first guitarist, suggested the name "Boukman", which Lolo and Manze liked.[4] The name was a tribute to the Jamaican slave leader Boukman Dutty, who launched the Haitian slave rebellion in August 1791. "Eksperyans" was chosen in honor of Jimi Hendrix and his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience.[3]

Boukman Eksperyans first became famous in 1990 when they presented their song "Ké-M Pa Sote" at the Carnival celebration in Port-au-Prince.[5] The song included the refrain "My heart doesn't leap, you don't scare me".[2] This song was a protest against the post-Duvalier interim military government of General Prosper Avril.[5] Armed soldiers appeared, trying to prevent the band from performing "Ké-M Pa Sote" and other censored songs.[2] After a young girl was shot dead by a soldier, this song became an out-and-out battle hymn admonishing the government. The band continued to write and perform rebellious songs. The band members were never directly threatened, but were advised 'never go out at night'. When the military junta overthrew president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991, the band decided to leave the country for their own safety.

The band achieved international fame in the early 1990s.[3] Their first album Vodou Adjae was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1991.[2]

Just before the second coup d'état against Aristide in 2004, Lolo joined with many others in protesting the abuses at the very least condoned by the President. In the years following, Boukman Eksperyans was not associated with any political party. Their songs depicted the reality of Haiti as they saw it.

In 2022, Boukman Eksperyans went on a US/Europe arena tour in support of Arcade Fire.[6]

Discography edit

Year Album Label Notes
1991 Vodou Adjae[7] Mango Records First album
1992 Kalfou Danjere[7] Mango Records
1995 Libete (Pran Pou'l!)[7] Mango Records
1998 Revolutíon[7] Tuff Gong International
1998 Revolisyon Tuff Gong International Second release of Revolutíon
1999 Live at Red Rocks[7] Tuff Gong International Live concert recording, August, 1998
2000 Kanaval Rasin - Vodou Adjae[7] Converge Records or Conversa-phone Institute (possibly) Greatest hits album of songs performed at Carnival
2009 La Révolte des zombies[8][9] Balenjo Music
2011 Live at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival MunckMix 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee - Outstanding World Music Album
2018 Isit e Kounyea La[10] Balenjo Music


References edit

  1. ^ Burnett, John (January 29, 2010). "Lolo Beaubrun: A Voice of Hope In Haiti". NPR. National Public Radio, Inc. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Brown, Joe (22 July 1993). "No Substitute For Eksperyans". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d "Boukman Eksperyans, la paix par le combat". Le Temps (in French). 12 June 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  4. ^ "rasin (roots) legends Boukman Eksperyans at Big Night in Little Haiti". Knight Foundation. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  5. ^ a b Tepper, Anderson (23 April 2010). "Boukman Eksperyans Benefit Brings Hope to Haiti". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  6. ^ Hussey, Allison (14 October 2022). "Beck No Longer Opening for Arcade Fire on 2022 North American Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2001). AllMusic guide: the definitive guide to popular music. San Francisco: Backbeat Books/All Media Guide. p. 902. ISBN 978-0-87930-627-4. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  8. ^ "RFI Musique - - Album review - Boukman Eksperyans". 13 August 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  9. ^ "La révolte de Boukman Eksperyans". RFI Musique (in French). 13 August 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  10. ^ Pierre-Pierre, Garry (15 May 2018). "Here and Now Cements Boukman Eksperyans Legacy". The Haitian Times. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  11. ^ Official websites
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links edit