The Memorial Drum Festival

Rele Ountò ♥ Call the Drum Spirit
Read about the 2016 Frisner Augustin Memorial Drum Festival here.

The festival grew this year, with all activities happening in Brooklyn.
We’re repeating it next year—with your participation, we hope.
Watch for announcements in early April 2017!

Thursdays in May and JuneDrummers_Te
Haitian Drumming Workshop with Morgan Zwerlein and Renald St. Juste

For intermediate and advanced students, the Workshop took place at the Brooklyn Music School in Downtown Brooklyn. Photo by Tony Savino: Haitian flutist Reynold Félix (right), a Workshop student, uses what he learned about the drum to accompany the Makandal Drummers at the festival Concert on June 25. The ensemble included Workshop instructors Morgan Zwerlein and Renald St. Juste (first and third from left).
The Workshop was supported, in part, with public funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Friday, June 24Dowoti_Lois
Call the Drum Spirit: A Public Forum on Heritage Preservation

Led by Claude Carré, Dr. Carolle Charles, Manbo Dowoti Désir, Dr. Lois Wilcken, and moderator Dr. Dominique Cyrille, the Forum took place in The Great Room at South Oxford Space in Fort Greene. Free and open to the public, it drew a crowd of enthusiastic thinkers who explored issues—some controversial—on the documentation of a marginalized but socially and culturally powerful tradition. Photo by Tequila Minsky: Manbo Dòwòti Désir (left) and Dr. Lois Wilcken engage in discussion.
Audio recording and transcript to come.
The Forum was supported, in part, with funds from the New York Council for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Saturday, June 25
Rele Ountò: Drumming Concert

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Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn
Who Played? Gaston “Bonga” Jean-Baptiste, Brother High Full Tempo, The Makandal Drummers with Taïna Ligondé
What Screened? Video documentary on Haitian drummer Louis Celestin, by Zaka
Photos: Brother High, Bonga Jean-Baptiste, and the Makandal Drummers with Taïna Ligondé by Tony Savino. Master Drummer Louis Celestin (with children) by unknown photographer, courtesy of Marie Celestin
The Concert was supported, in part, with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


A Dream Come True

Now looking forward to its fourth year, the annual Frisner Augustin Memorial Drum Festival takes its inspiration from Makandal’s memorial tribute to the Master in June 2012, just months after his passing. The festival concert takes place at Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn, an elegant state-of-the-art concert hall dedicated to the celebration of music. The 2016 additions—an eight-session drumming workshop and a community forum on preserving the art—took place in Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, respectively. The annual activities, which showcase the best of Haiti’s contemporary drummers and the art form they carry forward, realizes one of Maestro Augustin’s long-held dreams. Makandal produced the first annual festival on June 21, 2014; the second on June 26, 2015; and the third on June 25, 2016.

Featured image by Kesler Pierre
Audience joins drummers on stage for the finale, Rele Ountò 2014.

6 Responses to The Memorial Drum Festival

  1. Pingback: June 26th: Frisner Augustin Memorial Drum Festival « Haiti Cultural Exchange

  2. Pingback: Born to Dance, Born to Play | La Troupe Makandal

  3. lin deats says:

    He was one of the best drummers and was amazing at performing. Though he may be often imitated but he’ll never be duplicated. When it came to his talent and skills he was definitely one of a kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. makandal1758 says:

    His own faith drove him to be the dynamo he was. The spirits walked, and danced, with him at all times. He was forever aware of that. When I understood the unity of his art and his spirituality, my life changed.

    Like

  5. Carline Keil says:

    He was a legend.

    Like

  6. Ti Djab says:

    He remains, for me, the greatest representation of the classic Port Au Prince style. Lafrik Ginen rek! His lessons and mentorship continue to provide food, shelter, and a comfortable life for me and my family. I hope to never forget him. He was indeed special.

    Like

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