April 2016. Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Melissa Laveaux heads to Haiti in search of her roots and on a mission to honour her ancestors. Two decades have gone by since she last set foot on the island when she was 12 years old. She feels like a stranger and yet, at the same time, she experiences the thrill of an exile returning home, for Haiti is an intrinsic part of her identity. Born in Canada to Haitian parents and armed with a patched-together vocabulary of Creole from the metaphor-laden expressions and vibrant catch-phrases she's heard her mother trade with her aunts over long-distance phone calls, she doesn't know what will emerge musically from her pilgrimage. But as she dives in and discovers the folk songs that bred and nourished Haitians artists for generations, she is seduced by the depth and opulence of her extraordinary heritage. She returned home from Haiti with a head full of sounds, melodies, moods and stories of distant times, as a track-list emerged, rich in the multi-layered allegories and symbolism that are characteristic of Haitian poetry and song, like a coded language of resistance. From these she built Radyo Siwel, a unique album steeped in Haitian history and culture and yet which is also highly personal and intimate. "Radyo Siwel is very important to me because there's the whole part about remembering your ancestry and honouring your ancestors and elders," she explains. "I'm getting reacquainted with parts of my heritage my parents left out when they were raising me."
Venue Details & Map
35 - 47 Bethnal Green RoadLondonE1 6LA
- +44 (0)20 7613 7498
- Public transport:
- Shoreditch High Street Station - Exit the station, turn out on to Bethnal Green Road. Turn right and cross over the road. Rich Mix is located a short distance along the road.