International Festival 2000

Boukman Eksperyans

World Music Stage

Sunday, April 9

Soul Hat should've just been called "Hat" by virtue of its soulless performance.
Deron Neblett
Soul Hat should've just been called "Hat" by virtue of its soulless performance.

As the final act of the opening weekend, Boukman Eksperyans and his Haitian dancehall stylings provided a jubilant capper, even if you didn't understand what the hell he was singing about.

The band managed to divert people's attention from the $12 pitas, bead vendors and the occasional male Carmen Miranda impersonator. This ten-piece outfit (or 12, if you count the delicious dancers) sized up the crowd with its clash of rock and reggae, which the band calls vodou adjae. Its sound was somewhat conventional, probably brought on by too much keyboard work from Theodore Beaubrun Jr. The audience didn't seem to mind. In fact, many of the posh (read: white bread) spectators were getting more flushed with the group's vodou spirit than anyone else.

This seems to be how the Eksperyans entertains audiences: relentlessly. It performed three more tunes after its designated hour-long set, with the finale consisting of band members plucking out kids from the audience and getting them to join in the onstage rhythms. That's an Eksperyans experience. -- Craig D. Lindsey

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