Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince
January 20-27, 2018
For the 12th edition the Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince (PAPJAZZ for short, which will be used to refer to the festival going forward, as well as introducing a new logo) returned to its usual schedule at the end of January. This is supposed to be the dry season, but more on that later. As always the character of the festival was significantly influenced by the partner countries and organizations: the Brazilian, Canadian, Chilean, French, German Mexican, Spanish, Swiss and USA Embassies; the French Institute; and Wallonie Bruxelles International. Brazil was the country of honor this year, hosting master classes at their Cultural Center and giving the inaugural evenings a Brazilian touch with dance demonstrations and capoeira (the Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music).
January 20, 2018
Erik Truffaz/Emilie-Claire Barlow/Kenny Garrett
The inaugural concert took place at the Hotel Karibe, host to some of last year's shows. But the venue was substantially different. Instead of using the indoor meeting space, the stage was set up outdoors in the hotel's patio area: close enough to the lobby to allow the audience to take shelter indoors in case of rain. Rain wound up not being a problem on this night. A student big band from educational partner Collège Catts Pressoir (a Port-au-Prince school offering primary and secondary education) took advantage of the delay setting up the stage to play a lengthy introductory set from the "balcony" in the rear part of the space. They opened with a spirited version of Duke Ellington's classic jazz anthem "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." A later funk tune featured an impressive section trading saxophone and trumpet solos, demonstrating a group depth beyond their ensemble playing. The set closed with "Tequila," a surprising choice with universal appeal, judging by the crowd's enthusiastic response.
Swiss-born French trumpeter Erik Truffaz
and his quartet began the concert proper with a blast of jazz fusion energy. Truffaz acknowledges the influence of legendary trumpeter Miles Davis
, but he has definitely found his own sound. The opening tune began with just electric piano and trumpet, before bringing in the rest of the rhythm section for a rock-influenced swing feel. An atmospheric rubato break went into almost psychedelic rock territory. Keyboardist Benoit Corboz
favors processing his Fender Rhodes electric piano with electronic effects, producing more distinctive sounds than the generic ones common to most synthesizers, and Truffaz matched him here by playing his trumpet through a digital delay. Corboz played a lovely unmodified piano solo on the next tune, which also featured a groove-oriented solo from drummer Arthur Hnatek
. Truffaz got the audience to clap along with the next tune, a rock feel with a pulsing "heartbeat" bass line from bassist Christophe Chambet. I think Truffaz announced the final selection with a dedication to the great Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture. It began with a Haitian konpas rhythm, eventually morphing into reggae. Intermission began with the capoeira demonstration (see the Slideshow on the first page for a photo).
Canadian vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow
was up next. An excellent singer and an engaging, outgoing performer, her set was characterized by very creative arrangements of a wide variety of jazz and popular songs. "Feeling Groovy" opened with a slow blues groove, then shifted into fast swing for guitarist Reg Schwager
's fleet bebop solo. Lionel Hampton, Sonny Burke, and Johnny Mercer's "Midnight Sun" featured the first of many lyrical tenor saxophone solos from Kelly Jefferson
, who was a consistent stand out even in the company of a razor-sharp band. "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" employed an unexpected funk groove, with another great tenor sax solo, which cleverly merged into the melody at the end. Barlow explained that the arrangement had been inspired by a trip into the Arctic and the vast panoramas she viewed there. There were intimate moments as well: Jobim's "Waters of March" began as a duet with guitar, and Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" (which Barlow introduced as a Morrison cover, but not "Moondance") was a duet with bassist Daniel Fortin
. "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" was another masterful bit of arranging and performing. The familiar tune went through multiple key changes before launching into a string of swing solos after Barlow's command to "start walking." "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" was performed as a samba (with a quote from Chick Corea
's contemporary jazz standard "Spain"), and "The Beat Goes On" provided an unexpected, rousing set closer.
The opening concert of the festival is traditionally closed by the main festival headliner, a role admirably filled this year by the the great American alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett
, who first came to prominence playing with trumpet legend Miles Davis. He has recorded in many jazz styles, but he began the set solidly in modern acoustic jazz territory, with an original tune based around a modal bass riff like the ones frequently employed by saxophonist John Coltrane
. Tremendous energy from the entire band: the electricity in the air was palpable. A little ways into the set Garrett broke into an exciting unaccompanied series of saxophone criesfollowed by a familiar tune which I could not place, which was not announced. But it was followed by the standard "Body and Soul," a favored saxophone feature ever since Coleman Hawkins' classic recording. At this point Garrett introduced the band: Vernell Brown
, Keyboard; Holt Corcoran, bass; Samuel Laviso, drums; and Rudy Bird
, percussion and vocals. All first-rate players, and they sounded like they have played together a lot. Bird proved to be an especially useful foil for the leader as the set went on.
Having won the audience over with mainstream jazz, the rest of the show went in a more populist direction, which is also a long-time aspect of Garrett's music. The soul jazz of "Do Your Dance!" (also the title tune of his 2016 Mack Avenue album) included vocals, as well as another exuberant unaccompanied saxophone solo. During the funk tune that followed it Garrett was able to engage the audience in both clapping and singing along. But the tour-de-force of showmanship came during the funk encore. The band members left the stage one by one, leaving the leader alone, finally as a human beatbox. The man had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. As he left the stage he mentioned how glad he was to have made it to the festival: he had been forced to cancel his appearance on the opening night of the festival's tenth anniversary in 2016. I think I can speak for the entire audience when I say it was worth the wait.
January 21, 2018
Leila Pinheiro/Réginald Policard/Dominique Di Piazza
The Sunday night show began with veteran Brazilian vocalist/pianist Leila Pinheiro
in her duet project with guitarist Nelson Faria
, collectively called Céu e Mar
(Sky and Sea). They were warmly received by the large Brazilian cohort in attendance when they took the stage. Their set was a rich blend of bossa nova and jazz standards, made fresh by their creative partnership. "Girl From Ipanema" has become a bit overplayed in the U.S.even having cocktail lounge associationsbut it's a beautiful tune when played well. It also has a different sound when sung in the original Portuguese, as most of these songs were. Pinheiro switched to electric piano for the Duke Ellington
classic "(In My) Solitude." Later she sang "Ole Devil Called Love" in English, in honor of singer Billie Holiday
. Faria was a sensitive accompanist throughout. When he finally played an unaccompanied solo it concluded with a sly introduction to the bossa nova classic "O Barquinho," their closing selection. A fine ending to a performance both classy and classic.
The intermission music was supplied by the Ra Ra band Follow Jah, a bande à pied or walking band (marching band in common English usage) that has been performing at the festival since 2012. They provide a literal blast of high energy every time they perform.
Pianist/composer Reginald Policard
was the first Haitian musician on the main stage. Founder of the well known Caribbean Sextet, he has also been associated with konpa, fusion, and even smooth jazz. But the music he played on this night was firmly in the modern jazz tradition, with a healthy dose of Latin jazz for spice. During the opening tune his piano recalled the thunder of McCoy Tyner
. He definitely has a musical sense of humor as well, as demonstrated by his "Peanut Vendor" quote in a later tune. That original had a fast, irregular rhythm, with space for a saxophone/drum duet, a bass/drum duet, and finally a drum solo. Policard called up his young trumpet guest Maxime Lafaille, an excellent player who led a band later in the week at an After Hours show, as well as a frequent jam session participant all week long. Then Leila Pinheiro joined him on stage to sing Antonio Carlos Jobim
's "Corcovado" ("Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars")the kind of guest performance that can only happen at a festival like this. It was a very good night for Jobim, which makes it a very good night, period.
Intermission included a Brazilian dance exhibition as well as more Ra Ra.
The brilliant French bass guitarist Dominique di Piazza
closed out the night on a much more contemporary note. Best known for his playing in guitarist John McLaughlin
's band, his own group was also in the jazz fusion camp. The electronic sound was apparent right from the start, with reed player Stephane Chausse
playing an atmospheric introduction on EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), as he did for much of the set. At the end of the tune (back-announced as "New Life") the EWI switched to a violin sound. For "Desillusion" Chausse switched to clarinetthe only other instrument he played during the setand the leader took his first bass solo, which was melodic and guitar-like. When Di Piazza finally took an unaccompanied solo, it was a version of the hymn "How Great Thou Art," a performance that was both soulful and jaw-droppingly technical. The band went into a fast Bulgarian-sounding tune, which had bass, clarinet and piano doubling the melody. The drum solo featuring drummer Yoann Schmidt
was simply astonishing: one of the scariest demonstration of chops that I have ever seen. That was true of the whole band in the end. The restraint shown building to their technical peak was one of the most impressive things about their set.
January 22, 2018
Emilie Claire Barlow/Marialy Pacheco & Joo Kraus/Rutshelle Guillaume
The move to Universite Quisqueya and free admission signaled a larger, more diverse audience. Canadian vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow
opened the concert with a shorter set similar to the Saturday show. Several songs were cut for time, but there was one addition. The samba "O Pato (The Duck)" first popularized by Joao Gilberto
presented the opportunity for audience sing-along on duck quacks and laughs, which was obliged with enthusiasm. "The Beat Goes On" again closed the set, a success with this audience as it had been with the more elite crowd at the earlier concert.
Pianist Marialy Pacheco
was born in Cuba, but now lives in Germany, as does her playing partner trumpeter Joo Kraus
. Pacheco is a gifted pianist with a stylistic range that extends into earlier jazz forms. "Tres Linguas" was a Cuban tune with a ragtime feel. Her version of Mercer Ellington
's "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" was played as a slow drag blues. Trumpeter Kraus just plain brought the fun: an irrepressible, surprising player. He accompanied Pacheco with vocal percussion; performed a whistling solo on the Ellington tune; and on her original tune "Metro" (about the slow public transport in her native Cuba growing up) he played trumpet into a digital delay unit, following that up with delayed vocal sounds. Another example of intimate music played successfully on a large stage to an outdoor festival crowd.
The concert concluded with Haitian vocalist Rutshelle Guillaume, whose music was clearly very popular with the crowd. It was a big pop/rock production, complete with four backup singers. "Victorious" was a soft rock anthem; "Je Suis" brought the funk. After another power ballad the unmistakable sound of East African soukous guitar came in, prompting me to stop taking notes and dance. Certainly not jazz, but a fun way to end the evening.
Sidebar: Education & Outreach
The festival (and the Haiti Jazz Foundation which operates year-round) offers a number of workshops over the course of the festival. This is part of the Foundation's mission, which they define as: "Promote musical activities around country, especially through the annual Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival; Provide access to continuing professional music education in Haiti; Preserve Haiti's musical heritage; and Serve as a platform for the diffusion, evolution, and promotion of kreyòl jazz in Haiti and abroad."
Workshops/Master Classes were given by American saxophonist Kenny Garrett, French bassist Dominique Di Piazza, Canadian singer Emilie Claire Barlow, Brazilian guitarist Nelson Faria, Canadian/Haitian singer/guitarist Wesli, American singer Loide Rosa Jorge, Spanish guitarist Josemi Carmona, German singer Marialy Pacheco & trumpeter Joo Kraus, Chilean guitarist Nicolas Vera, the Belgian Giuseppe Vogue Trio, the French/Swiss Erik Truffaz Quartet, Swiss organist Frank Salis, and finally American guitarist Norman Brown. There was also a touching Conference on Herby Widmaier, the influential Haitian jazz musician and radio personality who passed just after last year's festival.
I was able to attend the Norman Brown
workshop (see the Slideshow on the first page for a photo). The effusive guitarist was free with both his playing and his answers to questions about his career and musical technique. He began by playing unaccompanied, chord melody style, before being joined by guest piano and electric bass. His formative influences (in order) were Jimi Hendrix
, Wes Montgomery
, and George Benson
all illustrated by trademark guitar sounds. He spoke at length about his practice routines, both while studying as a student and now to maintain his edge. When asked how he escaped the George Benson comparisons, he said the main way was by writing his own music (which Benson does not do): this is how he found his own voice. He and his partners improvised a piece on the spot, with Brown demonstrating his way with a melody. "We're writing a song" he said at one point.
There are also a series of regular music classes at educational partner Collège Catts Pressoir (whose student big band had played before the opening night concert). The Foundation sponsors them "to give back, to help motivate and develop the skills of young musicians: the next jazz generation."
January 23, 2018
Felipe Lamoglia/Loide Jorge & Jazz Quartet/Wesli
Saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia
was born in Cuba, but now lives in the United States. He came to join trumpeter Arturo Sandoval
's band, playing with him from 2001 to 2009, and contributing to 2008's Grammy-winner album Rumba Palace
(Telarc, 2007). He was joined by a group of Haitian musicians, including festival organizer Joel Widmaier
on percussion. The group opened with a Latin tune, Lamoglia immediately impressive. The Yoruban tune "Esta Valejo" included an exciting section of the drums and percussion trading fours. The Latin standard "Besame Mucho" was taken at ballad tempo, with an acoustic piano solo and an especially lyrical bass solo. Lamoglia introduced his tune "Enigma" as "crazy." Not so crazy to my ears, but it did include an elaborate, serpentine head. For the finale he led the audience in a clave clap-along. After the tune segued into a swing feel Lamoglia played an uninhibited duet with Widmaier's percussion. It's the kind of playing also heard from him all week at the after hours jam sessions. Loide
Jorge and her Jazz Quartet represented the United States, but she was born in France of African parents. Her version of "The Dance is Over" showed a definite soukous influence. The subject of her original "Seven Days to Fall in Love" was in the title, and she followed it with Jobim's bossa nova classic "Corcovado" (known in English as "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," which were the lyrics she sang). "Daddy Remember Me" was about families being separated in Soweto; "Don't Forget" had a similar theme, about not forgetting where you are from. "In Time" was about healing, with a South African groove.
Wesli (a Haitian singer now living in Canada) closed the show with another crowd-pleasing set of dance music. Konpa, reggae and rock were all represented, with a soukous influence also in evidence. His lead guitarist had some serious rock chops, and Wesli himself began one tune unaccompanied on nylon string guitar. Once again I found the set was best appreciated by dancing to it.
January 24, 2018
Javier Colina & Josemi Carmona/Frank Salis H3O/Johnbern Thomas
Spanish Flamenco musicians Javier Colina
(contrabass) and Josemi Carmona
(flamenco guitar) were joined by a drummer/percussionist for a varied set. After a traditional fiery flamenco opener, the second tune was more contemplative, recalling Ralph Towner
's classical guitar playing, and also featuring a beautiful melodic bass solo. Colina back-announced it as "Muñequita Linda," explaining that he would be announcing in Castialian, appropriate to the Spanish music they were playing. Colina again took the spotlight on the next tune, playing the opening theme unaccompanied (later accompanying a drum solo). Carmona departed from tradition by opening the next tune with a looper. Called back for an encorea rarity in a festival that tries to stay on schedulethe group responded with a lovely version of "Moon River."
Swiss organist Frank Salis
brought the funky organ trio blues with his H3O trio. It was a real blast of old-school energy, and certainly proof (if any is still needed) that jazz is definitely an international language. After a blues ballad (with a long unaccompanied organ solo that was unfailingly interesting), Salis introduced his band mates, saxophonist Marco Nevano and drummer Marton Kiss
. The next tune featured a boogaloo beat, and gave Nevano an unaccompanied saxophone break and Kiss a big drum solo spot, which they both made the most of. The trio took their leave after one more down and dirty blues.
Haitian drummer Johnbern Thomas
brought a big group for his Haitian-jazz fusion. In addition to two percussionists, guitar and bass guitar he was joined by Americans pianist Aaron Goldberg
, saxophonist Godwin Louis
, and trumpeter Darren Barrett
. They began with a konpa beat with just the drums and percussion, before moving into a swing feel with the whole band. The second tune started with unaccompanied piano from Aaron, whose energetic, uninhibited playing was a highlight throughout the set. "Homeland" featured vocalist Alexis Amis, while the cover of Stevie Wonder
's "Isn't She Lovely" included a section with alto saxophone and trumpet trading fours, bebop-style. "Jou va jou vyen" visited South African township jazz territory, while "Scrapple From the Apple" recast Charlie Parker
's fast bebop head with Latin syncopation, including a triple percussion solo. The set concluded with an old Latin standard (which reminded me of "The Peanut Vendor," but it wasn't that tune). An exciting set with a fascinating Haitian take on American jazz.
January 25, 2018
This concert was to be the final one at Universite Quisqueya. Chilean guitarist Nicolas Vera
and the Nicolas Vera Trio got three tunes into their set before the skies openedalways a danger even during the dry season. Their set was cut short, and the rest of the show was cancelled. So the Belgian group Giuseppe Millaci
& Vogue Trio did not get on stage this night, although they also had a performance scheduled the following night at the Institut Français. The Haitian group Strings
was also cancelled, but made a surprise appearance later in the festival.
Heavy rains in Port-au-Prince create an immediate flood situation, as even major low-lying streets quickly disappear under several inches of water, the result of a combination of overbuilding on the hills and poor drainage. Traffic somehow finds a way to keep moving for the most part, and the problem drains away quickly, but it is a show-stopper (literally, in this case) while it is happening.
My day was largely devoted to a side trip to the coastal town Jacmel, so see the sidebar for more on that.
Jacmel is a port town on the south coast of Haiti, a favorite weekend getaway for Port-au-Prince residents. It has well-preserved historical French colonial architecture that dates from the early nineteenth century, and is known as an arts center: one of its nicknames is "City of Artists."
Our tour took us first to Bassin Bleu, a famous series of three deep blue pools linked by waterfalls (see the Slideshow on Page 1 for a photo). It takes a strenuous uphill hike to get therewhich involves crossing over streams plus a bit of mild rock climbingbut the reward is gorgeous, untouched natural beauty.
Jacmel itself is full of distinctive architecture, and the Jacmel Arts Center is a visual feast, inside and out (see the Slideshow for a photo).
This year PAPJazz organized a satellite Jacmel festival. One concert featured the Frank Salis H3O trio and Erik Truffaz; the other had Loide Jorge and her Jazz Quartet.
January 26, 2018
Ingrid Beaujean/Frank Salis H3O/Loide Jorge & Jazz Quartet/RAM
Friday night is always celebrated with a free outdoor concert at Place Boyer in downtown Port-au-Prince. Mexican singer Ingrid Beaujean
(accompanied by electric guitarist Juan Jose Lopez
) opened the show with a sweet song that included a guitar solo using a looper, the first of several very musical uses of electronic augmentation by the duo. Beujean sang "A Foggy Day in London Town" in English. Then after taking a scat solo, she accompanied Jose Lopez's chord-melody solo with finger snaps and a vocal high-hat sound. "El Perro" was introduced as a son from Oaxaca. Beujean crafted a beautiful multi-part vocal chorus with a looper, which she brought in and out during the song: it made a great accompaniment track for a guitar solo. The set ended with a lovely lullaby, the duo's intimate music making having completely won over the crowd. Frank Salis
returned with his H3O trio to bring the funky organ blues. This is music that is especially well-suited to a large open-air venue, and they did not disappoint. Loide
Jorge and her Jazz Quartet had been in Haiti for a few days, including a performance at the Jacmel satellite concert series. So she brought a more fine-tuned set to this show. Mongo Santamaria
's "Afro Blue" (best known from saxophonist John Coltrane
's arrangement) was a new addition to her set. She had also added a well-known Haitian song which the audience recognized"you know it better than I do," she declaredand brought a remarkable young Haitian vocalist named Jenny J onstage as a guest. Jenny is amazing for a thirteen-year old: it will be fascinating to hear more from her in the future. She also performed several songs during the after hours show.
The concert ended with a performance by RAM, arguably the best-known Haitian roots music band. The style called rasin combines Vodou ceremonial and folk music traditions with rock and roll. Their name is derived from the initials of their founder, songwriter and lead male vocalist, Richard A. Morse, and is famous for its regular Thursday night performances at the Hotel Oloffson in downtown Port-au-Prince (see the Slideshow on the first page for a photo of the stage there). Hearing them on the PAPJazz stage may be second-best, but it was still a memorable experience. The band (which included drums, voudou drums, two percussionists, two electric guitarists, electric bass, and the additional female vocals of Morse's wife Lunise Morse) opened with upbeat konpa. The second tune employed two harmonized, overdriven guitars, and the first appearance of Ra Ra trumpets (played by the percussionists). The next song was reggaeclearly well known, because after the introduction the crowd sang it unaccompanied. Then they played soukous, more reggae, and a finale with Richard and the Ra Ra trumpets processing through the crowd. One of the guitarists quoted "Auld Lang Syne," a song often used for endings of all sorts, not just New Year's.
January 27, 2018
Strings/Beethova Obas/Norman Brown/Michael Brun
For the grand finale the festival moved to a new location at the beach, the Decameron Indigo Beach and Spa Resort: a reminder that Haiti is on an island, after all. The resort is on the Côte des Arcadins, a coastal location just 90 minutes from Port-au-Prince. The contrast with the city is so great that it feels much farther away. It's a beautiful resort, and the stage set up literally on the beach was an island fantasy come true.
The opening act was Haiti's Strings
, a surprise addition to the program after Thursday's rain cancellation. Their pop flamenco music was warmly received by their local fans. Founding members Jacky Ambroise and Phillipe Augustin are both still in the band: Ambroise is the composer and lead guitarist, and the full band includes two additional flamenco guitars, bass, two percussionists and drums. After a rubato solo guitar introduction they launched into their first selection, a flamenco with two of the guitars playing harmonized lines, a common arranging technique, and a treat for any guitar fan. "En Creole" was like a two-step, and included vocal parts, another recurring part of the arrangements. It certainly serves to make music which is primarily instrumental more accessible. Later in the set there was space for solos from drums, percussion and bass, all accompanied by a guitar vamp to keep the song in focus. The finale had a reggae introduction which shifted into an exciting fast flamenco. Once again "Auld Lang Syne" was quoted in farewell.
Haitian singer Beethova Obas
(who was indeed named for the great German composer) has been heavily influenced by Brazilian bossa nova, but his music shows many influences. He opened with a moderate konpa, following it with a samba which the audience recognized. The next konpa went into a swing feel for a jazz piano solo. The musical variety continued with the slow son "Haiti, Mon Coeur" including another audience sing-alongmany of his tunes were well-known by the crowd. When he sang his single "Asé Babyé" the audience was again ready to join in. A guest melodica player joined in for another son, then his set ended with a fade-out on a konpa tune.
American smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown
took the closing jazz spot of the festival. His trademark smooth playing style was certainly in evidencealthough thankfully without most of the slick production sound of his recordingsbut he's a contemporary player with wide interests, as demonstrated by the classic wah-wah funk of "Shaft" he played as the introduction. The set list leaned heavily on his breakout album After The Storm
(MoJazz, 1994). He began his cover of the Isley Brothers' "For the Love of You"the first of several songs featuring his vocals as well as his guitarscatting along with his guitar, and later conducting the audience in a scat sing-along. The scatting with guitar technique was inspired by his hero George Benson
one of the stylistic elements that still gets Brown compared to him. Yet he also played a Jimi Hendrix
cover, a Wes Montgomery
cover ("Bumpin'"), and a Luther Vandross cover ("For You to Love"), as well as Benson's version of "On Broadway" and one of his instrumental tunes ("Breezin'" I think). After a medley from After the Storm
(including "Better Days Ahead" and "That's the Way Love Goes"), Brown closed with "Funk The People," a 1970 George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic tune. The band's fiery playing was accompanied by literal fireworks, a memorable ending to a very entertaining set. Brown's guitar technique is formidable, he's a fine singer with an easy stage presence, and he and his band have fun. So does the audience.
The grand finale was EDM (electronic dance music) provided by Haitian/American DJ Michael Brun. Brun was born in Port-au-Prince, now lives in Miami, but has maintained Haitian connections. He is known for integrating World Music sounds, including the Haitian styles konpa and rara. His set had a special emphasis on Haitian sounds, and featured periodic geographic shifts as he emphasized different countries. It was music again best appreciated by dancing, which I did for awhile before heading to bed for an early flight.
The end of PAPJazz is bittersweet. Visiting Haiti is always an adventure, but a week crammed with music and exploration can be exhausting. The festival remains the most truly "international" jazz festival I have attended. In addition to the rich Haitian flavor of the music and the event, the presence of all the participating countries is undeniable. They contribute a roster of excellent musicians, both famous and lesser known. And I can think of no other place where I have heard stage announcements in French, Creole, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Photo credit: Ernesto Bafile