Monday, February 28, 2011

Zat-Rap - Kwaze le 8

To be honest, I have no idea what these guys are saying in Creole. However, this song, this video – they are special. As poorly as Haiti’s been portrayed through the media, from tent life to political unrest, it is nice to see something that doesn’t concern cholera. Not because we don’t care, or are tired of their despair (it is valid by all means), but because we as outsiders are reminded of how gorgeous Haiti can be. And that people from Haiti can be successful. It throws some positive frosting on a shitty cake Haitians have been forced to eat for a long time now. I can hear this tune, Kwaze le 8, by Zat-Rap (featuring Ti Kola), blazing in the streets of Port-au-Prince from some crusty old speakers strapped to the top of a broken down pick-up truck. As the sunsets, and hard workers pop the top on cold Prestiges, I imagine they must feel the way I do when I hear this song - ready to stand up and dance.

Filmed in Southwest Haiti on Port Salute Beach, the white sands of Haiti are inviting. Dan’s Creek Hotel is an astronomical $120 a night, a price only the wealthiest Haitians and tourists can afford. It’s where Sean Penn stays when he’s feeling philanthropically just. Even though I can’t discern the language, I was told from the streets of Les Cayes that Kwaze le 8 is an old troubadour song about how incredible Haiti is, and the importance of preserving the art and beauty of their culture. Zat-Rap stamps the old time classic with new age hip-hop that, as Ti Kola says in his first verse, is a “marriage of the old and the young.” Here is the video, laden with tropical beauties in a postcard landscape. Asking us to re-adjust our paradigm concerning the potential of this deeply stigmatized country.

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