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Paul Beaubrun's Album 'Rasanbleman (Red Moon)' Is A Celebration Of Haitian Music

Paul Beaubrun
Hugue-Robert Marsan
/
Courtesy of the artist
Paul Beaubrun

New York-based singer-songwriter Paul Beaubrun was born into the legendary musical family behind Boukman Eksperyans, one of Haiti's most famous bands. But in recent years, Paul has also made a name for himself as a solo artist thanks in part to two stellar albums under his own name and through collaborations with artists like Jackson Browne, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jenny Lewis and Arcade Fire.

Paul Beaubrun's latest record, released in April, is called Rasanbleman (Red Moon). That's Haitian creole for "a large gathering." It's a reference to the group of nearly 30 musicians and artists who got together for the album's recording sessions in Jacmel, a picturesque beach city on the southern coast of Haiti. The group included some of Paul's family members and other celebrated Haitian artists like DJ Michael Brun, pop star J Perry and up-and-coming MCs TROUBLEBOY HITMAKER and Kanis.

The 10 joyful and ecstatic studio recordings on Rasanbleman are steeped in the sounds of rock and reggae and punctuated with Haitian drums and rhythms. For the World Cafe, Paul tells the cosmic story behind the album's parenthetical subtitle, Red Moon, talks about the Haitian musical terms he wants listeners to learn and suggests that the current period of crisis and self-isolation is actually a time for gathering together.

"You can rasanble," Paul says. "You can get together spiritually. You can get together mentally. This is the time to get together actually, this is the time to look at the real relationship we have with ourselves and the relationship we have with others, with people that we love, people that we appreciate. Let's look at these relationships and try to make them better."

This interview was conducted as part of the upcoming documentary KANAVAL: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans in early 2021, produced by WXPN. KANAVAL: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Copyright 2020 XPN

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Alex Lewis is an independent radio producer based in Philadelphia. He's written and produced longform audio documentaries including The Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul (nominated for a 2020 Peabody Award) - with WXPN and NPR Music - and Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio (winner of a 2015 National Edward R. Murrow Award).
Raina Douris
Raina Douris, an award-winning radio personality from Toronto, Ontario, comes to World Cafe from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), where she was host and writer for the daily live, national morning program Mornings on CBC Music. She was also involved with Canada's highest music honors: hosting the Polaris Music Prize Gala from 2017 to 2019, as well as serving on the jury for both that award and the Juno Awards. Douris has also served as guest host and interviewer for various CBC Music and CBC Radio programs, and red carpet host and interviewer for the Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Association Awards, as well as a panelist for such renowned CBC programs as Metro Morning, q and CBC News.
John Myers
Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.