On February 7th, 2020. the Haiti Cultural Exchange presented Pa Bliye | Toto Bissainthe, a multi-media exhibition and concert benefiting the Exchange, in partnership with Fondation Haiti Jazz. The event took place at ShapeShifter Lab, and featured performances by Riva Précil, Grammy-nominated Nathalie Joachim, and Nathalie “Talie” Cerin who paid tribute to Toto Bissainthe. Talie, a singer-songwriter, and writer, is a a contributor to the Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orlenas project and is featured in the project’s documentary.
Bissainthe was a popular Haitian singer, songwriter, actress, and activist who founded the first Black theater company in France (The Griots), and whose 1977 album, Toto Bissainthe chante Haïti, is a beautiful, acclaimed collection of songs.
The performance featured special guests Milena Sandler, exhibition curator and daughter of Toto Bissainthe, and musician Jöel Widmaier. The band includes Monvelyno Alexis (guitar), Markus Schwartz (tanbou/haitian drum), Bobby Raymond (bass), Frederic Lasfargeas (piano), Hiroyuki Matsuura (percussion).
Watch the performances below.