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Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans

Dancers in colorful costumes from the Krewe du Kanaval in New Orleans
Photo courtesy of Gason Ayisin/WXPN
Krewe du Kanaval in New Orleans

For Black History Month, Blue Ridge Public Radio is pleased to present Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans, a three-part series February 24-26 at 7:00 PM on BPR Classic.

Much of what distinguishes New Orleans today from other American cities can be traced back to deep French and African influences from the Caribbean Island now called Haiti. NOLA’s Haitian cultural influence began two hundred years ago when 10,000 free and enslaved people fled the uprising in the French colony of Saint Domingue. The city’s multi-cultural DNA is what has made New Orleans famous and is reflected in the food, architecture, art, and most notably, its music.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans, hosted by Grammy Award winning musician Leyla McCalla and produced by WXPN in Philadelphia, explores the history and the continuing impact of Haiti on the Crescent City.

Leyla’s work unearthing history and musical tradition, combined with her knowledge of cultural hybridization and her own identity as a Haitian-American have given her a unique voice and perspective.

Learn more about the Kanaval documentary project and stream the music featured in the series.