One is half of the singing duo in one of Haiti’s most popular konpa bands, wooing couples on dance floors from Port-au-Prince to Palm Beach with his seductive, crooning voice into a slow melodic trance week after week.
The other is a solo artist whose performances of socially conscious lyrics, fused with Haitian roots, reggae and jazz rhythms have taken him as far as the African continent and garnered him an inter-generational following.
On Sunday, both Arly Lariviere of Nu Look and Bélo will be together for the first time, sharing center stage as Moca Café in North Miami hosts another edition of Jazzy Sundays.
“This show with Arly Lariviere is going to be a very special one,” said Bélo. “I am pretty sure the crowd is going to love it.”
Rodney Noel, part-owner of the Haitian-themed restaurant and lounge, said while the event has jazz in the name it’s all about promoting Haitian music in a laid-back setting that gives artists a chance to showcase Haiti’s vibrant sound.
Speaking from his Palm Beach County home, Lariviere made it clear he isn’t embarking on a solo career. But Sunday’s showcase, he said, is a chance for him to introduce fans to a repertoire of music he doesn’t always get to play when performing with the band.
“There will be a lot of variety for the people to appreciate,” Lariviere said, noting that some will be familiar love songs, and others will be new. “There is a public that loves to sit down and appreciate music, people who don’t usually go to the dances but want to sit and appreciate music.”
In July, hundreds crowded the Café to listen to Bélo. The performance demanded an encore, said Noel, citing high demand especially among those who missed it.
During that performance, a laid back Bélo played his guitar and sung from the heart, telling attendees, “I want to play with you, not for you.” He had no pre-determined list, he said as he sung in English and Creole. He’s looking forward to his repeat appearance, he said Wednesday. “It’s always a pleasure to meet my fellow Haitians and share the love with them, and of course bring the heat of the Caribbean sun, Haiti to the USA,” he said.
In addition to South Florida, Bélo also will be brining that “Caribbean sun” to several other U.S. cities in the coming months as part of a diplomacy initiative by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The initiative Center State features artists from several countries including fellow Haitian performers Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès and dance troupe Compagnie de Danse Jean-René Delsoin.
Jazzy Sundays featuring Belo and Arly Lariviere is from 8 to 11 p.m. Sunday at Moca Café, 738 NW 125th St. Tickets are $25 in advance. Call (305) 899-2699.