From WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the producers of the Peabody-nominated and Regional Edward R. Murrow award-winning Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul, comes a new audio docu-series chronicling the history of Haiti and Haitian influences on the music, culture, and community of New Orleans and contextualizing the nation’s historical importance through its considerable artistic and musical traditions.
Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans is a three hour documentary hosted by Haitian-American and New Orleans based artist and musician, Leyla McCalla, a founding member of Our Native Daughters & alumna of the GRAMMY award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Leyla’s work unearthing history and musical tradition, combined with her knowledge of cultural hybridization and her own identity as a Haitian-American have given her a unique voice and perspective. Her music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, projecting respect for eloquent simplicity that is rarely achieved.
Leyla’s current project, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, tells the legacy of Radio Haiti, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner through Leyla’s own Haitian-American lens. The multidisciplinary performance, featuring her original compositions and arrangements of traditional Haitian songs and premiered in March 2020 at Duke University and will be presented in Philadelphia as part of the Kanaval project.