Category Archives: Tales from the Archive

Tales from the Archive: A Message from Ti Kelep

The waistcoat was one of Frisner’s favorites, and he wore it often on stage. A basic black, it featured two welt pockets, a pointed front, and a closure that he never buttoned down—banking, of course, on the sex appeal of … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Tangled Roots

The spotlight caught him in one of his star moments: seated at a conga in a red Kesler Pierre t-shirt for the Vodou spirit of love (her dazzling heart crowned with the word “Makandal”); a cluster of New Orleans-style carnival … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Remembering Jocelyne

Frisner popped the audiocassette into his car’s player, and the music started. “Le voix là, le voix les anges, le voix là, le voix les cieux, nous prions qui sous la terre, sous la terre comme dans les cieux, le … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: My Diploma Is the Drum

In the summer of 1999 the cat was out of the bag that Frisner Augustin had won the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Frisner’s (and Haiti’s) coup inspired Jocelyn McCalla—most of us call him … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: The Intimate Touch

From The Intimate Touch album notes: “We can continue hearing pulses grouped in fours….Or, we can hear a shift from pulses grouped in fours to pulses grouped in threes: beginning on the second pulse of the third beat in measure … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Vodou in the Voodoo Theatre*

She was planning the program with good intentions. “Do it just like you do it at home,” Verna Gillis told Frisner as we met with her in the run-up to our first performance at Soundscape, her loft in the Manhattan … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: A Day for Frisner, a Day for Haitian Culture

“Because of the drum, that’s why I can be here today. “I remember the time I struggled in Haiti. A lot of people used to talk bad about the culture, the roots. But today is going to be my day, … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: The Fire Tape

His hands gripped the steering wheel as he cut his eyes off the road to fix them on mine. “The tape.” I didn’t have to wonder what Frisner was talking about. In the summer of 1986 Makandal had been hard … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Take Your Time

Frisner Augustin’s drum students knew his “Take your time” as a mantra, but few could articulate what he meant by it. Most assumed he was talking about tempo, or speed. For example, the tempo is sixty beats per minute, and you’re … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Drumming in Praise of Karen McCarthy Brown

So many things we think we understand! I, for example, have long told myself that the separation of the mind and the body—a notion basic to modern thought—is a lie. True knowledge springs from a marriage of mind and body. … Continue reading

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