When slavery ruled Haiti, field workers lived and died worse than farm animals. But up in the mountains, the drums of revolution sounded. In 1804, African-Haitians overthrew plantation masters and took control of the republic. According to legend, voudou leader Dutty Boukman set the wheels in motion at Alligator Wood, where a band of Maroons came together in religious ceremony. They pledged to fight for freedom by any means necessary, and then they went to war.
Sunday, at the James L Knight Center, the 22nd annual Haitian Independence Day Concert celebrates freedom, education, and giving back to the community. Executive producer Farah Juste, a leading force in Haitian folk music, leads a cast of singers, dancers, and actors through a production commemorating the struggle for independence. Emeline Michel, Bethova Obas, and Jowee Omicil provide musical support. Show producer Jensen Desroisiers, who has staged events in New York City and Miami for the past 15 years, says: Its an education for the Haitian-American youth who were born in the United States to learn and appreciate their culture. This day is very important. We acknowledge our ancestors and commemorate the battle for freedom. Ayiti leve kanpe (Haiti, get back up).
Sun., Jan. 2, 7 p.m., 2011