Counternarratives of the Diaspora: Haitian Musical Performance in World Beat Markets

This study will investigate the performance motivations of three Haitian musicians based in South Florida who use their artistic platforms to offer a version of their country omitted from dominant media projections of the country. This study focuses on narrative as a device that allows these musicians to offer counterstories against dominantly negative media projections that have real effects on Haitians. The thesis will examine the work of world beat artist Erol Josué and his performance motivations in global record markets. His work as a oungan (Vodou priest) plays a large role in the composition of his “electro-Vodou” world beat music, but is also the source of misrepresentation by the label that relies on the disjuncture created by biased narratives in the media. The second focus of this thesis observes the performance motivations of two musicians: Jean-Michel Dauder and Aldore “Empress Addi” Casseus of Rara Rock and their actions in cultural settings to offer a version of Haiti not seen in media presentations. Utilizing frameworks of disjuncture, transnationalism, and world music, this thesis will utilize local ethnologies to contextualize Haitian performance practices in global and local situations.