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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
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.
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.
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.