Haitian band Lakou Mizik to spend week in Lancaster in June for concerts, events – LNP | LancasterOnline

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Haitian music group Lakou Mizik. Photo by Ben Depp
Haitian band Lakou Mizik. Photo by Zack Smith.
Haitian music group Lakou Mizik. Photo by Daniel Schechner.
Haitian music group Lakou Mizik. Photo by Ben Depp
Haitian band Lakou Mizik. Photo by Zack Smith.
Haitian music group Lakou Mizik. Photo by Daniel Schechner.
When most bands come through Lancaster County, they usually play a show and leave within 24 hours or less.
Lakou Mizik, however, is not most bands.
From Sunday, June 12 to Saturday, June 18, the Haitian music group will be in Lancaster city for a variety of events, culminating in a Music Friday performance in Binns Park on Friday, June 17.
Formed in 2010 by musicians Jonas Attis and Steeve Valcourt and manager Zach Niles, Lakou Mizik is a musical melting pot unto itself, with its members fluent in various popular Haitian musical styles.
“We’ve got a singer and bassist whose roots are very much in the church and gospel music,” says Niles, over the phone from his home in Vermont. “We’ve got a gentleman who is a complete legend of voodoo music, we’ve got two of the best Rara players in the country who look at this traditional music as a stepping stone to something bigger, and then we’ve got Steeve and Jonas who have more of a pop star mentality. They’re the ones who have really wrangled all these different sounds to create the Lakou Muzik sound.”
In addition to the Music Friday concert, the band will attend “A Night of Music, Food and Conversation with Lancaster’s Haitian Community” at Hub450, in coordination with Lancaster city councilman Lochard Calixte, Lancaster’s first Haitian-American elected official, on Monday, June 13.
Lakou Mizik will also perform two drumming clinics for kids at the Ware Center, and take a trip to Philadelphia to perform at World Cafe Live. The band’s visit is thanks to the triumvirate of Music for Everyone, Church World Service and radio station WXPN.
The visit is timed with not only World Refugee Month in June, but also World Refugee Day, on June 20.
“People don’t often call Haitians ‘refugees’ for some reason, so, in an interesting way, I really like how [Church World Service] reached out to us for this type of project, because it reframes that whole concept.”
The band’s most recent album, 2019’s “HaitiaNola,” was an all-star affair, featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty and other notable musicians from New Orleans. Niles says that the band is looking forward to the long visit.
“I think what’s unique about what we’re doing in Lancaster is that it’s a long period there that is specific and planned out with intentionality,” says Niles.
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