Flashpoint Report: When the Drum is Beating
Written by Jeremy Kraner    Sunday, 24 April 2011 00:00    PDF Print E-mail

Septentrional at the Tribeca Drive-In

At the World Financial Center Friday night, the weather was down in the low 40s. The music, however, was nice and warm, complete with the feel and soul of the Caribbean. People were dancing in their seats and tapping their toes as Septentrional, one of the oldest bands from Haiti, was providing pre-show entertainment. The weather might have been cold, but the music was red hot.

Playing on the big screen were excerpts from the new documentary When the Drum is Beating. This documentary, said director Whitney Dow, was about exploring the heart and soul of a group that represents a fusion of cultures from this area, both Caribbean and Haitian. This is, without any doubt, one of the larger bands I’ve ever seen, complete with multiple trumpet, guitar, and saxophone players, as well as several different types of drums, and vocalists galore. Listening to them play, it would be easy to assume that, with all of these different types of instruments being played at once, it would be simple to lose the band’s individual sound to the sound of the whole band. This could not be further from the truth.

As the band continued to play, it was almost like a game of give and take: as one part of the band ramped up to play a busy part, another part of the band slowed down, providing the perfect back-up to the rest. This style of play was prevalent throughout most of their songs, never giving too much of the spotlight to one instrument or one member of the band.

Afterwards, while the press took pictures of the band, they were laughing and smiling, joking with one another, simply enjoying this night that they had worked so hard for.  However, as the wind whipped in from the docks, the band rushed inside for a moment of warmth before their next set.

One cannot help but wonder if the music is warm because of the weather of their homeland, or if maybe the weather is so warm there because of this music. All I know is, standing out in the cold, listening to this music, I swear I felt myself beginning to warm up.


Add comment

Security code