Val Jeanty on Radyo Shak for Clocktower.org

The lovely and talented Val Jeanty stopped into the Clocktower radio studio at Pioneer Works not long ago, and she brought her gear with her: a laptop, a deejay's sample controller and a stack of suave loops. We chatted a bit, but the heart of her visit was the amazing set of improvisational electronic music she did, blending vodou samples and other snippets of Haitian audio into deep grooves. She makes music on the fly with a few simple pieces of chip-based hardware in a way I have never really experienced live, right in front of me, before. In other words, this is a one of a kind performance!


An Interview with Josh Jelly Schapiro on Clocktower.org

Just gone live today on Clocktower.org is my interview with Josh Jelly Schapiro about the heinous, ongoing efforts by the Dominican Republic to expel Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian extraction in what amounts to racial cleansing right next door in the Caribbean. Josh recently returned from the Haitian-Dominican border; he's one of the few journalists who has been closely following this issue since the passage of discriminatory legislation in the DR 18 months ago. We met at the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince about the time that law was going into effect, and Josh has been back many times since to investigate the realities engendered by the xenophobic climate and grotesque new law in the Dominican. You can listen to our conversation HERE. 


Radyo Shak

I'm embarked on yet another diverting and rewarding and entirely non-profitable collaborative venture, the production and realization of a pirate radio station in the inner-city of Port-au-Prince. This is and will be the Radyo Shak, coming soon to the Caribbean hood.

I've written here before about the Ghetto Biennale, an event that started out, one imagines, as something between a fantasy shared over a beer on a late night in a hot city and a potential promotional opportunity for some of Haiti's most dynamic and original artists. After the first Biennale, held just before "the" earthquake in December of 2009, the event has like Lazarus risen every two years since, growing in the meantime into something that the outside world, especially the art world, now pays attention to, has actually heard of, wants a piece of!

Earlier in the year, the Biennale co-founder, my dear friend Leah Gordon, contacted me to see if I would be willing to serve as the point person for the creation of a radio station to broadcast news of the Biennale and its artists, its excitements, its failures and personalities, throughout the surrounding neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, and throughout the world via Clocktower.org.

This idea, too, seems to have grown out of a fantasy shared over a beer on a late night in a hot city, except in this case the city was not Port-au-Prince but Sharjah, or rather neighboring Dubai, beer being entirely unavailable in Sharjah, and indeed illegal. Alanna Heiss, founder of MOMA PS-1, and Leah were attending some sort of arts meta-event, like a biennale devoted to discussing other biennales, or something. Alanna is also the founder of Clocktower.org, a fabulous online arts and music and everything else radio platform , housed for the moment at Pioneer Works right here in Red Hook. (I presume the geographical convenience of this is not the only reason Leah called me).

The rest is soon to be history-in-the-making. Along with Clocktower studio guru Jake Nussbaum I'll be broadcasting all things Haiti from a shanty in the inner city of Port-au-Prince during the culminating ten days of the Biennale, December 10th through 20th. We're also producing as much programming in advance as we possibly can; my interview with house music legend Richard Laurent is online now. Upcoming shows include an interview with General Dadou of Brooklyn rara Djarara and an exclusive midnight recording of them marching through Prospect Park, a story-telling extravaganza and musical parade through Brooklyn with the Haiti Cultural Exchange and artist Allenby Augustin, Troubadou music with yours truly DJ Richard Nixon coming out of retirement, and anpil lot bagay tou! (Much, much more.) Watch this space.