What is Kriz Rara Rev Nou, Inc. About?
by Nancy F, HAY Online Founder
“I can say this honestly, I never knew a thing about Rara before meeting Coach Peter of North Miami Senior High School. I must say a great friend introduced me to Rara Rock when she was a singer in that band back in 2005, but still then it never resonated with me that it was a strong part of Haitian culture. I was educated about the “Racine Movement” (Roots Movement) indepth by a client of HAY Online Media, Fondasyon Zaka formally known as The Back Yard Movement. I met so many greats like Sanba Zao, Matisou Legba, Rara Kuyu, Rara Lakay, Kriz Rara and so many others. Especially grateful to meet Wa Wa one who deserves much recognition. Salute as they would say, “Ayibobo”. – Nancy F Now, what is Kriz Rara Rev Nou, Inc. About? It is a fledgling one year strong Rara band (Haitian Marching Band or Roots Band) based out of Little Haiti, Florida in Miami. Little Haiti is part of the District 5 area that harbors a large Haitian community. Every Saturday night you will find them leaving 136 NE 60th St, the “Baz” (Base or Hangout) around eightish, ninish give or take to begin a processional around little Haiti while playing cultural songs we compare to here as folk music.
“I tell yah, my mom was even shocked I was following one. She calls me a few weeks back to check up on me and asks, “Kote ou ye la (Where are you)?” I tell her, “Se nan Little Haiti mwen ye nan yon Rara (I am in Little Haiti at a Rara).” She goes, “Rara?” I say, “Yes and why did you not tell me about this?” All she could say is, “Umph.” – Conversation with my mother Nicole and I, Nancy F. This is an example of what I try to tell many who assume many like I who are born here and never been to Haiti yet, we really do not all know about Haitian culture. Many factors are the reasons why we do not know much and to see the games I see day in and out played is a darn shame. Share the information where it truly counts. Here I am 32 years old, Haitian American female easily seen to love learning about her culture and yet never knew a thing about Rara till this past May.
Well back to the processional of Kriz Rara. They kick off with a ceremony in front of the “Baz”, where all the musicians make a circular march around the lit “Vè Vè” (A ritual symbol to send off the Rara on a safe journey to keep all safe and enjoy the evening). So my first experience was a bit scary and exciting. I always wanted to learn more about Haitian culture first hand in Haiti, but since much in finances and circumstances are in the way, I shall settle with all I can learn here. The parade, processional or journey however you want to put it starts from “Manno’s” house on 60th St and NE 2nd Ave, and heads out west towards NE 1st Ave and turns left. The band with many people in front of them and behind them heads south toward Toussaint L’Ouverture Elematary School. They go around the east side of the school where more people who drive to meet up with the growing procession join in. On NE 56th street they make another turn right to head west towards N Miami Ct. where another turn is made now heading north to 58th St. Now, along the route already we stopped at NE 57th St. and the kids are dancing, adults are dancing and the band is doing its thing. Here you will find Danny “Lumbi” with his little red car serving cold drinks which I love to buy lemonade mixed with Grenadia (Passion fruit) from. His nick name comes from the fact he is known for selling Lumbi (Conch) at many events at the Little Haiti Park, FIU and festivals held downtown. Love his hustle.
Then you have a cute beautiful darling of a woman, who with her grandkids also enjoying the “Rara” called, “Manman Baz” la (Mother of the Base or “The Spot”) who will have peanuts and snacks to purchase if you get hungry. Now as all the needs of the Rara are being met by “Ti Mammi” (Lil Mama) or Danny “Lumbi”, the band heads to 58th St, where they proceed to cross North Miami Ave where another three blocks are walked towards NW 1st St where another stop is made. After crossing the street, another “Au Chant” (Salutation) is performed. The Salutation is a gesture to give thanks to the neighborhood. As they proceed towards NW 1st Ave, they stop a few more times and more people will trickle in. By this time they have over two hundred people in toe including the 13 ensemble band and their own entourage. I just love crossing North Miami Ave first, to watch the crowd stop traffic while all the fun loving youth and granmounn (Older Adults) just keep on marching. Finally almost towards the end of the journey around Little Haiti with a North bound march towards NW 61st St where Madan Tig who has a spot that plays Kriz Rara’s Kanaval 2014 music, “Kè Yo Sote” each time they pass as a gesture of respect. My first time ever following the “Rara”, I complained the whole way asking, “Are we almost done?” Many participants told me yes we are but five stops and an hour later that was not the case. It is a two hour “Trek” I call it, had my feet and back hurting for days. But I made it and it was worth it because I got to experience something so many who participate in it today, grew up joining in or some just watch pass by their windows in Haiti. The final march along the trek is now heading east on NW 61st St. across N. Miami Ave again down NE 61st St. to NE Miami Ct. where the band starts to head home. I on the other hand love this part lately because I just dart back to the “Baz” so I can get a chair for the “Trip” (Hanging Out) session afterwards. So now the last stretch home so to speak is when the whole processional makes its way south on NE Miami Ct. towards NE 60th St where they turn eastward towards the hangout. So whenever in Little Haiti on a Saturday night, stop by Ti Manno’s crib at 136 NE 60th St. and join Kriz Rara the youth’s voice of Racine “Roots” music. So much more I am learning and cannot wait to share with you all. Ciao HAY Online