New NPR Documentary From WXPN/Philadelphia Explores Haiti’s Influence On New Orleans Music

New NPR Documentary From WXPN/Philadelphia Explores Haiti’s Influence On New Orleans Music

The story is being told through a content rich website and a national radio documentary.

By BWW News Desk, Jan. 12, 2021

New NPR Documentary From WXPN/Philadelphia Explores Haiti’s Influence On New Orleans Music

A new year-long project that explores and celebrates the influences of Haiti on New Orleans’ famed music, culture and community is being launched today by Philadelphia public music radio station WXPN.

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans is a compelling story that is being told through a content-rich website and a national radio documentary set to air in February during Black History Month, in addition to a series of special musical, theatrical and community events.

“As we’ve done with our Peabody Award-nominated Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul project and previous ones examining Mississippi Blues and Zydeco Crossroads, our Kanaval project is an in-depth exploration of a significant contributor to modern popular music,” said WXPN General Manager Roger LaMay. “The history and influence documented in Kanaval is an important but largely unheralded chapter in Black history and through it, we hope to help change the unjust narrative about Haiti as a nation of poor immigrants to one that has contributed significantly to our music and culture.”

Distributed through NPR, the Kanaval audio docu-series ties the nation of Haiti and city of New Orleans through an historical perspective, focusing on the music that connects them. It is produced by Alex Lewis, an award-winning independent radio producer and musician whose projects include Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, and WXPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul, among many other projects. WXPN Assistant Station Manager Bruce Warren and General Manager Roger LaMay are the project’s executive producers, and the series is hosted by New Orleans-based, Haitian-American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla, a founding member of Our Native Daughters and alumna of the GRAMMYⓇ award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.

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