Music blaring, wild colors, dazzling parades, and dancing in the streets: Kanaval is the ULTIMATE party of the year…and it just got so much better! Grammy Award-winning indie rock band, Arcade Fire, has announced they will play a free outdoor concert in Jacmel, Haiti, on February 21st, 2014 as the headliners of the festival JAKMEL JOUBARE’N! Performing along with an amazing lineup of famous local Haitian musicians including BélO, RAM, Kreyol LA, Symbi Roots (RaRa Famn), DJ Tony Mix, Hotmen Rap, Lakou Mizik, 45 Soliders, and DJ Gardy, the free festival will take place at the Place Toussaint Louverture in downtown Jacmel at 7PM. Check out all the details below.


Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Régine Chassagne’s parents were born in Haiti, then fled under the oppressive Duvalier regime. Her family’s experience is alluded to the Arcade Fire song “Haiti”, in which Chassange sings, “Mes cousins jamais nés hantent les nuits de Duvalier (My unborn cousins haunt Duvalier’s nights)”. Haiti holds a special and deeply personal place in the hearts of this Montréal-based band. After the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince in 2010, Chassange responded with a heartfelt call to action, awareness, and donations to Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health, in her letter “I let out a cry, as if I’d heard everybody I loved had died”. Since then, Arcade Fire has been extremely active and generous in charity and activist work benefitting Haiti, exploring Haitian musical heritage and drumming with the help of RAM, pledging $1million of their own money to reconstruction, and playing benefit shows and festivals, including our TIFF Brunch in the fall, to help spread the word for this awesome cause!

To remind their fans of the overwhelming poverty afflicting Haiti, lead vocalist and songwriter Win Butler decorated his guitar with the Haitian proverb, “Sak vide pa kanpe,” which means, “An empty sack cannot stand up.”

Arcade Fire’s fourth and latest album, “Reflektor”, was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2013 with its title track’s innovative and interactive music video shot by Vincent Morisset in Jacmel, Haiti with help from graduate students of our very own Ciné Institute! “Reflektor” has also just recently been nominated for 6 Juno awards!  The album is influenced by the Haitian musical tradition of rara, the 1959 film Black Orpheus, and Søren Kierkegaard’s essay “The Present Age”.

“We were interested in doing hybrid beats that could translate stuff that I know from my family background in Haiti. I was always interested to try to find rhythms that mean something, to communicate emotion through rhythm and music. Because rhythm is almost like a vocabulary,” Chassagne told the Guardian. Following this show in Jacmel, Haiti on February 21st, Arcade Fire has been confirmed to headline this year’s Glastonbury and Primavera Sound festivals in Pilton and Barcelona! Want a sneak peek of all the fun and music to come at Jakmel JouBare’n? Check out Arcade Fire’s song “Afterlife” off their latest album!