Haitian-born DJ and producer Michael Brun never misses a chance to pay tribute to his Haitian roots, mixing his blend of progressive house with authentic Haitian beats.
So with the biggest electronic dance music festival hitting Miami this week, Ultra at Bayfront Park, it seems only fitting that Brun, the biggest global act to come out of Haiti since Wyclef Jean, would have his two passions intersect in the cultural heart of Miami’s Haitian community — Little Haiti.
That’s perhaps the best way to explain the impetus behind Brun’s Bayo Block Party in Little Haiti this Friday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr. Known more for hosting top Haitian konpa acts such as dISIP, KLASS, T-Vice and most recently NuLook, the cultural center has never hosted a dance music party – until now.
“This is a personal show for me, playing in Little Haiti during such a huge week for electronic dance music,” said Brun, who lives in Miami and has played some of the world’s top venues and dance music festivals.
“I just felt that with everything I’ve been building up with the Haitian dance music collaborations, the Bayo Block Party sounded like a perfect opportunity to do something brand new,” he added. “It’s a great way to push the sound forward and spotlight all of these Haitian artists.”
Since bursting onto the electronic dance music stage, Brun has been using his producing and mixing skills to elevate Haitian beats onto the global pop music stage through collaborations and events like his inaugural Wherever I Go music festival organized outside of Port-au-Prince last year. The Haitian music block party in Little Haiti is just another note in that effort.
The block party will feature some leading Haitian and electronic dance music celebs. Among the Haitian acts: J. Perry, Brun’s co-collaborator on the song, “Wherever I Go,” and new track, “Gaya,” along with Lakou Mizik; DJ Tony Mixx, one of the most sought-after DJs on the Haitian Music Industry scene, and homegrown favorite Lakou Lakay, the infectious rara parade band that closes out Third Fridays at the Little Haitian Cultural Center and keeps fans entertained at North Miami’s weekly Madame Gougousse tournament.
Brun won’t name the celebrity DJs making cameo appearances during the block party’s four hours, but fans won’t be disappointed as it all comes together, he says.
“It will be a mixture of all of these elements I’ve grown up with all my life, progressive house and EDM, which really gave me my basis as a producer of high energy, feel good, big room type of music, mixing that with what I’ve learned producing pop music and rara. It all blends together in a new, organic way,” he said.
That sound, he added, will not just come together to create something brand new, but will also be “paying respect to Haitian culture.”
Though Haiti’s distinct musical sounds are often associated with konpa, jazz-rock fusion and roots music steeped in Vodou rhythms, electronic dance and house music are quickly rising in popularity.
A house music party over the Christmas holiday in the hills above Port-au-Prince sold out with 3,000 ticket sales, more than most of the konpa parties around the same period.
“I grew up with all kinds of music,” said Brun, whose dad is Haitian and mom is Guyanese. “But I’ve had this huge affinity for dance music and Haitian music. They have a lot more in common than people realize and my goal is to show how linked those two are… they just flow well, and tell a story.”
IF YOU GO
When: 6-10 p.m. Friday
Where: Little Haiti Cultural Center Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr.