“In 2010 the nation of Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale. 260,000 to 316,000 lives were lost during the quake. 300,000 people were injured and 1.5 million people were displaced. In total a little over 2 million people or 20% of the total Haitian population of 10 million was immediately impacted by the violent quake.
As a result of the 2010 earthquake’s aftermath, Cholera broke out in 2013 claiming another 8,173 lives and infecting over 664,282 Haitians.” (source)
Since the cataclysmic disaster in 2010, Haiti’s plight has faded from mainstream consciousness. However, four years later the fallout from one of natures worst disasters is still fresh on minds of most Haitians as they deal with it in their daily lives; either through the painful memories or through more direct circumstances.
From the ashes of Haiti’s destruction, a Houston based musical duo born in the Caribbean nation emerged as a voice for the souls lost and those whose suffering continues. La Famille Royal as they are called, immediately turned their musical attention to the people of Haiti during and after the catastrophic earthquake.
Here is the official bio of the group:
“LaFamille Royal, French for ‘The Royal Family’ was formed in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. NegLakay BelBagay and Loved ones of Past and Present, came together to create a new genre of music that would not only entertain, but educate the world about the history, the beauty, and the culture of Haiti. The lyrics of LaFamille Royal gives voice to those that are powerless to speak on their own behalf, and through a melodious blend of rhythmic Caribbean music: Compas, Reggae, Soca, and Zouk infused with Hip-Hop, they have created a sound that is uniquely LaFamille Royal.
NegLakay BelBagay, WorldWind Yahmani, along with the Souls of the Haitian People, Past and Present, make up this two member group blazing trails with edgy lyrics floating on dope beats!”
NegLakay & Worldwind’s musical past predates 2010, but their focus didn’t become crystal clear until 2010. With many songs written and performed, they now have 15 key songs that represent their mission to be a voice of the Haitian people affected by the 2010 earthquake.
Houston Cigar Life & LaFamille Royal
(L) NegLakay BelBagay (R) WorldWind Yahmani
Haiti is a Caribbean nation sharing the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic which makes up 2/3 of the island. Tobacco has been cultivated on Hispaniola long before the Europeans arrived in the late 1400′s. Therefore the cigar culture in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the entire Caribbean for that matter is vibrant to say the least.
In Houston, the members of LaFamille Royal continue to enjoy cigars and stumbled upon an event hosted by Houston Cigar Life magazine (Alief Post’s sister publication) on November 2nd called the Sunday Smokeout. (EventBrite) (Facebook Event Page)
After learning about the duo, we felt their music would not only entertain our guests, but also further educate people on Haiti, their struggle and even their culture through the musical sounds of LaFamille Royal as they sing in native Creole and French.