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Music of Haiti

The music of Haiti is influenced most greatly by French colonial ties and African immigration (through slavery), as well by its neighbor, the Dominican Republic (see music of the Dominican Republic).

Impoverished Haiti didn't have any recorded music until 1937 (see 1937 in music) when Jazz Guignard[?] was recorded noncommercially.

Meringue The meringue is a form of syncretic music that mixes Spanish, French and African forms; it is an ancestor of the Dominican merengue (note the spelling difference).

Compas[?] Compas direct[?] was invented in the mid-1950s by a group of artists, already then famous, called Coronto International[?]; it soon became popular throughout the Antilles, especially in Martinique and Guadeloupe, where it evolved into zouk[?]. Webert Sicot[?] and Nemours Jean Baptiste[?] became the two major powers in the group. Sicot left and formed a new group and an intense rivalry developed between the two, though they remained good friends. Nemours played a popular, improvised style, compas direct, while Sicot's sophisticated "cadence rampa[?]" was inaccessible to mainstream listeners.

Vodou percussion The religion of most Haitians is vodou[?] (voodoo) and highly formalized percussion is used in spiritual music. Vodou includes two different kinds of deities (Lwa): rada[?] and petwo[?]. Ceremonies may include either Rada drums ("Tanbou Rada" in Haitian Creole[?]) with cowhide covers attached with wooden pegs, or Petwo drums (Tanbou Petwo), which have a goatskin covers attached with cords and a more aggressive sound. Additionally there are many many Haitian rhythms played in Vodou which vary greatly with geography. For example, some of the most popular Rada rhthyms from Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas include Yanvalou, Mayi, Zepol and Dawomen, while in Gonaives, Rada takes such names as Wanjale, Akbadja, and Kavalye Hounto.

In the Petwo family one can find: Petwo Makaya, Fran Petwo, Petwo Doki, Makandal, Bumba and Kita.

There are many other Vodou rhythms as well: Djoumba, Kongo, Ibo, Tchika, Raboday, Banda, Nago, Maskawon etc etc.

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