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Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Port-au-Prince, Ouest, Haiti | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band World Afropop




"Singer BélO, inspired by his roots as a ‘Native Born’ Haitian and the strength of his country"

By Celia Wren April 3, 2014
An artwork’s title can be an affirmation. For BélO, the Haitian singer and guitarist known for his catchy reggae- and world beat-influenced music and for his dedication to social issues, the title of his fourth album, “Natif Natal,” serves just that function.

“‘Natif Natal’ is a way for me to say that my sound has changed a little bit, but I’m still Haitian,” the musician says recently, speaking via Skype from the capital city, Port-au-Prince, with his 7-month-old daughter making occasional babbling noises in the background.

In recent years, he has been developing something of “an international sound.” “I started to tour internationally, more than in Haiti, and I made a lot of exchanges with different musicians from around the world,” he says. “My music has become more sophisticated.” But for him, “inspiration comes from my country first.” The Haitian Creole phrase “Natif Natal” — which might be translated as “Native Born” — emphasizes that bond with his homeland.
“Natif Natal” releases this month on the artist’s own label, BélO Music. It will be available Tuesday on iTunes — just a few days before BélO’s Friday performance at Artisphere. The singer’s concert in Rosslyn, Va., is part of the Francophonie Cultural Festival 2014. The D.C. area showcase of performances, films and other events—including at least one pastry tasting — features contributions from about 40 French-speaking or France-entranced countries. (This year’s six-week-long Francophonie festival wraps up April 15.)

Born in Croix-des-Bouquets, near Port-au-Prince, in 1979, BélO (real name, Jean Belony Murat) was only 11 when he realized he wanted to be a professional musician. His environment might have predisposed him to the choice. “Music was all over the house; all over the street; all over Haiti,” he recalls.
About the time he released his debut album, “Lakou Trankil,” in 2005, he took to calling his musical style “ragganga.” “It’s a mixture of Haitian traditional music with all kinds of foreign music — like reggae, jazz, rock-and-roll, funk,” he says. “It’s a music that reflects the reality of Haiti. Haiti is [part of] the African diaspora. We were colonized by the French. We’re so close to the U.S., so close to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. So we have a lot of influences.”

While touring and crafting his albums “Référence” (2008) and “Haiti Debout” (2011), he has gained a reputation as a socially conscious musician, grappling in song with issues such as HIV/AIDS awareness and the plight of at-risk children. After the 2010 earthquake ravaged Haiti (he was abroad at the time), BélO threw himself into a marathon series of concerts to raise funds for relief work.

But he’s concerned that people recognize the beauty and strength of Haiti, and not think of it as a charity case. “To me, the future of Haiti really depends on Haitians,” he says. “And that’s why, in my music, I keep saying: The change that everybody is hoping for is not coming from above. It is something we have to create.”

Sublime Japanese ceramics
Compared with the globe-hopping BélO, who has performed on multiple continents, the artworks that will be displayed in the upcoming exhibit, “Contemporary Japanese Ceramics by Living National Treasures and Other Masters” at the Japan Information and Culture Center, have led a more restrained existence. But the pieces — - Washington Post (syndicated on April 11,2014

"BélO globalfest"

BélO performs during globalFEST at New York City's Webster Hall on Jan. 8.
BélO: globalFEST 2012
January 10, 2012 Hear BélO bring Caribbean undercurrents to socially conscious songs as he performs live in concert. - NPR Music

"Chicago Folk & Roots Festival 2011"

I set out for the Chicago Folk & Roots fest this year for the African and Jamaican portion of the line-up—I timed it mostly right and got to see the legendary Itals (from a far, mostly) and more.

Once I had completed bribing a grumpy toddler with the purchase of a ukulele, and securing vital supplies for the family members such as beer (from Cleveland's Great Lakes brewery), sangria, corn dogs and some kind of zesty lamb sandwich from the food vendors (all way above average for any street fest), I found Folk & Roots an easy fest to settle in. The sound was robust even in the back of the field and the crowd never so dense that one couldn't walk almost to the edge of the stage if you needed a better visual.

The Itals took the stage with vocals holding up extremely well, they mixed soul covers with natty dread anthems all with a sweetness and rootsy vibe. The synthesizer might have been a bit high in the mix, but that can certainly be excused when the vocal harmonies are flowing so effortlessly.

Inevitably, reggae has been adapted, reworked by musicians on islands near and far— sometimes just to entertain tourists. In the case of Haiti-born BèlO, there's a reggae foundation but vocals and melodies of the creole type all wound up in worldly and sophisticated arrangements. If a Folk & Roots set can send me back to my iTunes to re- examine an album I've had for weeks, that's usually a good thing.

I don't exactly know to whom Soul Sonic Sirkus is supposed to appeal, but let's just say that worn-out funky acid jazz can't be saved by acrobatic circus performances. Soul Sonic Sirkus sounds passé, just as much as the idea of bringing a circus into a dance club—which sounds like a failed experiment from the ’90s. Even so, a circus on stage (and these acrobats had their moves tight) is hard to turn away from. I didn't have the steam to stay for Baloji, who I think was probably a perfect festival headliner—especially if you prefer your rapping in French as I often do.

Thank goodness for the Lawrence Peters Outfit, who were barreling through country dance numbers in the dance tent—allowing my dancing toddler and the rest of us to go out on a good-feeling, rootsy note. Go see 'em at the Hideout, if you like to dance. - Timeout Chicago- blog by John Dugan on Jul 15, 2011

"All the world’s music in globalFEST By JIM FARBER Thursday, January 05, 2012"


In the video for his song “Lakou Trankil,” Haitian musician BelO performs with the expansive gestures of someone who is either explaining, arguing or educating. Sitting before an older man fixed in his ways, a younger man armed with a gun and a room full of amused school children, BelO sings over and over in French about “le changement,” the changes. It’s a representative moment for one of Haiti’s most committed political stars. Born Jean Belony Murat, 32 years ago in Port-au-Prince, BelO has taken up the mantle of socially aware reggae, favoring that beat over his own country’s more common compas. Though he counts Jamaican dancehall star Buju Banton as his hero, BelO’s gruff voice has more in common with Bob Marley (in timbre) and Bono (in cadence). His mix of reggae with jazz and slicker pop has made him a star both at home and in Europe. BelO’s presence at this year’s globalFEST makes 2012 the second year in which the organization sought out someone who can speak with eloquence about the trouble and hope of Haiti today.
- DailyNews

"Bélo Haïti debout"

Following kompa crooner Michel Martelly’s election as president of the Republic of Haiti, the singer Bélo delivers his own message on Haïti debout, the third album from the 2006 winner of the RFI Découvertes music award.

You don’t need to look far on Bélo’s CD to find a reference to the terrible earthquake that shook Haiti in January 2010. Even the title of the album, Haïti debout (Haiti standing) smacks of Haitian tenacity. Paradoxically, the disk’s cover sports a photo of the singer sitting down in the grass with a guitar by his side. His face is closed and hard, and his expression and posture are those of a boxer knocked out and stunned, but determined to get up and carry on the fight.

To follow up on his 2008 album Référence, this time the artist in his thirties looked over to this side of the Atlantic, where he found the support he needed to finish his project. Some brilliant talents from the Afro-Parisian music scene added their touch to his creation: the Cameroonian guitarist Blick Bassy, the Malian percussionist Mamadou “Prince” Koné and his compatriot Harouna Samake, who plays the kamele ngoni, and the Beninese bass player Patrick Ruffino, another finalist in the 2006 RFI Découvertes awards that Bélo went on to win.

The ten songs recorded (as well as four bridges, totalling a little under 40 minutes) focus on the essentials, leaving space for a clear melody with a ring of French chanson, some arrangements that seem to be inspired by experience playing live, and a few succulent pop morsels.

In this punchy, energetic cocktail served up in Creole, and so mixed race by definition, reggae is always one of the main ingredients, like on Ti Jean. The duet, performed with the Martinican Saël, one of the beacons of the West Indian reggae scene, won last year’s Sacem Caribbean Special award.

Bélo Haïti debout (Nati Prod/Harmonia Mundi) 2011

Translation by : Anne-Marie Harper

"Haiti: Belo's Song of Peace-Troubled island sells music and hope"
Haiti's History
Learn more about how Haiti became the first free black republic in the world, and follow links to more about

Given my experience in Haiti last summer, I could have called this story "My Haitian adventure: The masochistic delight of shooting a documentary about a chaotic first-time festival during rainy season in a country where nothing works."

It all started with my friend Frank Eaton's kidnapping in 2005. He was making a music video in Port-au-Prince for a local musician named Belo, when he and his co-producer, Haitian-American Alain Maximilien, were taken by gunmen and held for ransom in Cite Soleil, one of the country's worst slums. Fortunately, after paying, they were both released unharmed.

Despite the incident, Eaton said he wanted to return to Haiti for the first-ever Jacmel Music Festival, an event designed to draw tourists to the island. He also wanted to reunite with Belo, who has become internationally recognized for his socially conscious songs.

The music festival was held in the town of Jacmel, which is being promoted as a tourist destination.

The music festival was an attempt to lure travelers back to this once booming vacation spot, by showcasing the island's beaches and culture. Reviving the tourism industry would not be an easy proposition, with Haiti's reputation of violence, poverty and disease.

But in recent years, the country has become more stable with the election of a new president and the presence of U.N. peacekeepers, and Eaton said he felt safe going back.

If he had the nerve to return, I figured I would go too and film the story.

But my friend never made it on the plane. Two hours before we were due to depart from the Miami International Airport, he got spooked and drove back to North Carolina, where he lives.

I could have bailed, but I decided to try and rescue the production. Through the Associated Press, I tracked down Trent Jacobs, an American cameraman living in Haiti, and two days later, I was on a plane to Port-au-Prince.

I caught my first glimpse of the capital from the cracked window of an exhaust-filled car, while in rush-hour traffic and a rainstorm. Rivers of mud swept through the street, as people ran for cover with car headlights and candles as their only light.

After a grueling three-hour drive along a windy mountain road, we arrived at the festival in the beach town of Jacmel around midnight.

Haitian musician, Belo, has become internationally recognized for his socially conscious songs.

A graduate from Columbia Journalism school, Natasha Del Toro is an independent documentary producer who focuses mainly on telling stories through an arts and cultural lens. This is her second piece for FRONTLINE/World. Her first documentary featured a successful art duo called Los Carpinteros, who live and work in Cuba.

Haitian musician, Belo, has become internationally recognized for his socially conscious songs.

The situation only worsened over the next 48 hours: The driver disappeared with Jacobs' tripod in the trunk of his car, our audio equipment crapped out and our cell phones were stolen. Belo, the Haitian musical star I had arranged to interview, left the festival early because of poor event planning; the minister of tourism, my other main interview subject, came down with malaria; and the last day of the festival was canceled because of a tropical storm.
That night, feeling defeated, I spilled some Haitian rum into the sand as an offering to the gods for better luck.
What I started to understand about this trip was that the chaos around me played directly into my story. Haiti operates by its own rules and on its own time, which certainly made it hard to produce a documentary. But looking past its rough exterior, the country has natural beauty and a nutty charm unlike anywhere else. Since returning from the island, I've developed a strange affection for Haiti, its people, beaches, rhythms and spiritual energy.
Belo and others want the world to judge their country by these good qualities, rather than through the usual reports of violence and unrest.
In November, Belo came to Florida, where I live, to perform. Driving home from the concert, I was caught in the middle of a shootout in downtown Tampa. Though I jokingly call it the coda to my crazy adventure, the truth is, no one involved in the incident was Haitian, and the event never made the local news. It just goes to show, it can happen anywhere.
-- Natasha Del Toro
Additional Photos: Frank Eaton

- Front Line-P.B.S-BY Natasha Del Toro-December 13, 2007

"France Haiti les nouvelles scenes"

vous êtes français, vous voulez partir au Québec vous êtes québécois, vous voulez partir en France . qui sommes-nous ? l'OFQJ, acteur de la coopération
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« France Haïti, les nouvelles scènes », succès de la tournée OFQJ au Québec
Agnès Bihl, Benoît Dorémus et Bélo formaient le plateau « France Haïti, les nouvelles scènes » lors d'une tournée au Québec du 8 au 17 juin dernier. L'OFQJ, en partenariat avec le Consulat général de France à Québec, Cultures France et la SACEM, a organisé pour la deuxième année consécutive une tournée en présentant pour cette nouvelle édition, trois jeunes talents de la chanson française et francophone qui se sont produits à l'Île d'Orléans, Rimouski, Port-Cartier et au Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac. Ci-dessous la présentation en photos de la tournée.

Québec, Île d'Orléans
Agnès Bihl et Benoît Dorémus accompagnés de leur musicien respectif ont rejoint à Montréal Bélo et son pianiste arrivés la veille en provenance d'Haïti. L'ingénieur du son québécois, Louis-Simon Hétu, complète l'équipe, réunie dans le minibus de la tournée en route pour Québec, première étape d'un long parcours (1). Le lendemain, peu de temps pour découvrir la ville : Agnès est déjà dans les studios de Radio Canada pour une interview (2). L'après-midi, les artistes investissent l'Espace Félix-Leclerc situé sur l'Île d'Orléans à proximité de Québec. Première balance son, premiers ajustements. Accompagné de Richard à l'accordéon, Benoît répète ses chansons (3). Chacun découvre le style musical des autres. Sur scène le soir, Bélo succède à Benoît avant de laisser sa place à Agnès (4). Après le concert, Stéphane Catta, conseiller culturel au Consulat général de France à Québec, félicite les artistes. Malgré ses efforts, son sourire n'a pas la blancheur de celui de Bélo ! (5) Avant de quitter l'Espace Félix-Leclerc, Agnès est sollicitée pour un autographe (6).

Comme le dit Bélo, après quelques jours passés ensemble, tous ont le sentiment de se connaître depuis des semaines. L'équipe au complet longe le Saint-Laurent pour rejoindre la salle du Spect'art et se préparer pour le second concert de la tournée (7). Benoît accorde sa guitare (8), Bélo et Charlson attendent leur tour (9). Le soleil qui est de la partie, traverse les parois de verre. L'émotion du public est palpable comme à l'Île d'Orléans lorsqu'Agnès, dans sa tenue de scène qui la fait ressembler à une petite fille, interprète Touche pas à mon corps, une chanson sur l'inceste (10).

La vie d'artiste n'est pas de tout repos ! Le lendemain, 13 juin, réveil à 5 heures pour ne pas manquer le traversier qui part de Matane pour rejoindre la Côte-Nord par le Saint-Laurent. Bélo, sur le pont du bateau en pull-over et mains dans les poches malgré la température exceptionnellement douce (11). Arrivée en début d'après midi au Café Graffiti, situé sur la petite île de McCormick à Port Cartier. Benoît joue de la guitare face au Saint-Laurent (12). Identique à lui-même, ici comme devant un public (15), : une grande simplicité dans sa manière d'être et une authenticité dans ses chansons fortement autobiographiques. Le temps est compté. Les artistes soupent rapidement sur la terrasse du Graffiti avant de monter sur scène (13). Louis-Simon aux commandes de sa console joue un rôle essentiel dans la réussite de chaque concert (14). Quelle que soit la salle, il doit recréer le son voulu par chaque artiste. À la fin du spectacle, Agnès, Bélo, Benoît et leur musicien saluent le public enthousiaste (16).

Le Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac, événement idéal pour clore la tournée. Quatre jours de festival non stop, cette année sous un soleil généreux. Deux représentations le vendredi 15 et le samedi 16 ainsi que la participation au concert de clôture le dimanche 17 où tous les artistes du festival se succèdent sur scène pour interpréter deux titres de leur répertoire. Invités à un déjeuner organisé par le Consulat dans le Grand Hôtel de Tadoussac, les artistes échangent leurs impressions avec Stéphane Catta (18). Pour sa dernière représentation, Agnès n'a pas eu le temps de revêtir sa tenue de scène, elle se présente sur la grande estrade de Tadoussac au naturel (19). Bélo, au meilleur de sa forme, se livre totalement avant de - OFQJ

"Top 10 Global Artists to Check Out in 2009"

I have not had a chance to listen to all of the music the world has to offer (yet) and therefore cannot pretend to offer you the very best 10 global artists from 2008. That being said, in addition to the artists featured over the past month, here are 10 figures from around the globe who graced us with good sounds in 2008, and who are worth watching in the new year. Without further ado, and in no particular order...

1)BelO is a socially-minded, Haitian-born singer-songwriter powerfully delivering jazz and world beat inflected reggae in French and Creole. His tours overseas have brought him to New York, Paris, and 11 African nations, in addition to his numerous performances throughout Haiti. He released his second LP, "Reference," in June.

2)Novalima is a multinational collective of Peruvian musicians playing electro infused Latin beats on a mini-battery of congas, cajons and like percussion. Their third album, "Coba Coba," was released in Peru this past October, but isn't due on the international market until January 2009.

3)Jazzanova is a Berlin production outfit best known for pioneering jazz house. In October, they trumpeted, so to speak, their fluency in a different vernacular with their eminently soulful, much-anticipated sophomore album, "Of All the Things."

4) Momokomotion is a former Bangkok indie-punker now crafting raw but catchy electro-pop tunes in Japan. She released ""Punk in a Coma" in January, with a full set of remixes (dubiously but not impossibly) slated for this December.

5) Tomer Yosef is an Israeli M.C. spitting verses and wailing choruses in Hebrew on top of grinding, modal beats. In August, he released "Laughing Underground," his solo debut.

6)Noble Society is a grime dancehall group that reaches from Brooklyn to Guyana (as vaguely referenced in my Dec. 5 entry for WMC). In October, they released "Take Charge," recently named among iTunes Best Reggae Albums of 2008.

7) Zuco 103, a trio based in Amsterdam, calls itself "Brazilectro." This unique style, as showcased in their October release "After the Carnaval," layers brazilian guitar, cavaquinho and cuica timbres (among others) over funky grooves to swaddle vocals that alternate between English to Portuguese.

8) Nneka is an oil-politics aware hip-hop songstress with one foot in resource rich Nigeria, where she was born and raised, and the other in Germany, where she has lived since she was nineteen. In April she released her second LP, "No Longer at Ease."

9) Mhee Noi is an explosive, irreverent Thai punk band, who appropriately invokes said tradition to indict police corruption and Thai society writ large. (Alas, their first full length album, Kluay Kak, seems to be only available at present if you happen to be in Bangkok, or able to read Thai).

10) Menino DiJa, a Rhode-Island resident rapping in Kriolo and English, released
the video for Tentason, a track featuring fellow Cape Verdean Shokanti. The YouTube profile for the video promises an album "soon," so be sure to keep your eyes open and your ears peeled...

Special thanks to World Music Promotions, Nomadic Wax Records, Modiba Publishing+, Mo Glo Radio, DJ Santo, and HuffPost readers Simeon Chapin and Alain Mpenda for helping expose me to this music.

- The Huffington Post :Gabriel Beltrone Posted December 26, 2008

"le second album de belO"

Les esprits jazz de Bélo
Référence, un tableau haïtien

Paris 02/06/2008 -
A travers son second album Référence, Bélo présente sa vision contemporaine d’Haïti, avec ses souffrances et ses espoirs. Conscient d’être devenu l’un des ambassadeurs de son pays lorsqu’il se produit sur les scènes du monde entier, le lauréat 2006 du Prix Découvertes RFI a choisi de s’exprimer dans un langage musical davantage tourné vers le jazz. Ecoutez, avec RFI, deux titres de l'album Référence, pour la première fois disponible en France.


A l’heure du deuxième album, Bélo avait à cœur de rappeler qu’il restait d’abord et toujours un enfant d’Haïti : si sa carrière a pris une envergure internationale depuis qu’il a été récompensé par le Prix Découvertes RFI, le jeune chanteur tenait à ce que ses compatriotes soient les premiers à découvrir ses nouvelles chansons. Pour l’occasion, un concert-événement avait d’abord été programmé le 12 avril mais, à quelques jours de cette date, de violentes manifestations contre la cherté de la vie ont secoué Port-au-Prince, la capitale haïtienne coincée entre mer et montagnes. "Il n’y avait pas moyen de faire la fête à un moment où le pays était en crise", explique Bélo qui se dit "conscient des revendications des gens" Reportée de quatre semaines, la soirée s’est finalement déroulée le 10 mai dans le Parc historique de la canne-à-sucre, situé sur le terrain d’une ancienne habitation sucrière. Devant son public, l’artiste s’est dévoilé sous un jour musical différent de celui qui l’a fait connaître. Avec son nouvel album intitulé Référence, "une portion d’Haïti comprimée en douze titres sur un CD", il s’écarte en effet de ce dérivé du reggae et de rythmes locaux qu’il a appelé ragganga pour s’engager sur une voie aux accents bien plus jazzy. "Je ne veux pas parler de changement, mais d’évolution. Le précédent disque est sorti en 2005. Aujourd’hui, on est en 2008. Je pense qu’on n’a pas le droit de présenter quelque chose qui soit identique à ce qu’on a fait trois ans plus tôt. Je me devais de faire apparaître l’expérience, la maturité que j’ai acquise durant tout ce temps", justifie-t-il.
Des musiciens de haut vol

Comme "on ne change pas une équipe qui gagne", il a renouvelé sa confiance à son guitariste Andy Barrow, "un Américain qui a grandi en Afrique et vécu pendant plusieurs années en Haïti". C’est d’ailleurs dans son studio de Miami, en Floride, qu’a été enregistré l’album. Initiateur du projet Haïti Twoubadou, Fabrice Rouzier est lui aussi de la partie. Ce producteur et instrumentiste qui a son nom sur plus de 250 albums a été le premier à croire au talent de Bélo en produisant Lakou Trankil : "On ne peut pas être musicien haïtien et ne pas avoir travaillé avec Fabrice Rouzier une fois dans sa vie", résume le chanteur.

Parallèlement, sa démarche d’ouverture à d’autres influences et sonorités l’a conduit à élargir son cercle pour collaborer avec des musiciens aux profils divers : le pianiste argentin Gabriel Saientz, le batteur costaricain Carlomagno Araya ou encore le saxophoniste hispano-vénézuelien Ed Callé, aperçu entre autres aux côtés de Franck Sinatra et Michael Bolton. "On voulait avoir cette diversité et c’est ce qui donne cette touche jazz à mon album", assure Bélo. Lorsqu’il s’est rendu en septembre 2007 à New York pour donner un concert à SOB’s, l’un des clubs les plus réputés de Manhattan, il en a également profité pour rencontrer Richard Bona et l’inviter sur son disque, estimant que tous deux vont "dans la même direction". Sur les nouvelles versions de Lakou Trankil et Istwa Dwol, déjà présentes sur le précédent disque, le chevronné bassiste camerounais "a apporté une couleur africaine", juge le chanteur haïtien.

Des textes engagés

De sa tournée effectuée l’an dernier dans une demi-douzaine d’Etats d’Afrique, Bélo a justement rapporté une chanson, Pap Negosye, composée lors de son séjour à Zinder, une ville du Niger qu’il avait atteint après quatorze heures de route : "C’est un texte qui dit aux jeunes de se protéger lors des rapports sexuels. Tout le monde sait que le sida se transmet surtout si on ne se protège pas. En tant que jeune et artiste, c’est de ma responsabilité de prendre part à la mobilisation et la conscientisation de la jeunesse."

Donner du sens à ses textes fait figure d’obligation morale pour cet ancien étudiant en comptabilité qui a été rattrapé par l’amour de la musique. Son rôle ? Etre "la voix des sans-voix". A commencer par les enfants des rues, laissés à eux-mêmes et si nombreux dans son pays. Leur sort, qu’il évoque dans Timoun Yo, est à ses yeux terriblement préoccupant. “Ce sont les adultes de demain et donc l’avenir du pays. Il faut miser sur eux si on veut vraiment qu’Haïti change." Un espoir auquel Bélo s’accroche, tout en restant lucide.

Ecoutez un extrait de Paris nan Mal'n
Ecoutez un extrait de Deblozay Remix
Bélo Référence (Aztec Musique/Discograph) 2008
En concert en France le 20 j - RFI

"Beat Magazine"

Vive Les Caraibes! By Brian Dring
The Beat Magazine August 2008 Issue- Volume 27, #3 2008
All too often talented Haitian roots artists find their
music undermined by inferior production or a promoter lacking the vision or
contacts to get them the exposure necessary to compete on the global market.
Fortunately this is not the case with the young artist known as BélO as he has
proven on his recent release Reference (Soley Sounds). Coincidentally born in
the same town as Wyclef Jean, this artist's early performances with a group
named Sokute won several awards and attracted the attention of both producer
Jean Marc Appolon and musicians Fabrice Rouzier and Kéké Belizaire of Haiti
Troubadours who aided in the production of his first album "Lakou Trankil" in
In 2006 he captured the coveted French award RFI Découvertes which had not
been captured by a Haitian artist since Beethova Obas in 1988. Taking it to a new
level with this sophomore album featuring guest players from the international scene like Richard Bona and
some international festival experience under his belt, BélO has already stepped up to the international stage with
2007 tours in Africa, France, Quebec, Tampa, and more recently in North America. In the middle of everything
else is a powerful and commanding voice deeply rooted in traditional Haitian music while still transcending it in
a way I haven't heard since Edy François on the first Boukman Eksperyans album, "Vodou Adjae." That voice is
ably supported by the superb arrangements and instrumental work of Andy Barrow, who beside adding bass and
guitars, shares keyboard tracks with Rouzier.
Several cuts from the first album are given sophisticated reworkings and a pair of talented sax players Ed
Calle and Jowee Omicil add some beautiful jazz flavor without in any way obscuring the essentially organic griot
feel. Most importantly, the songs have groove, refusing simply to bask in their own cleverness or beauty. BélO
has evolved into a socially engaged songwriter as well, tackling such subjects as AIDS, deprived children, and
violence against women. Particularly poignant is "Istwa Dwol," the often repeated story of the boat people who
after a all these years continue to risk all for a better life in exile. The lyrics lament the mass exodus not only of
boat people but folks from all walks of life and professions, including musicians.]
service by - Beat Magazine Vive les Caraibes By Brian Dring

"Essay: BelO's Return Is Sweet Music to Haiti"

AQUIN, Haiti (April 10) -- Impatient children flocked to the streets in this small southern beach town; a crowd of thousands of onlookers yelled over security gates. But this past weekend, no one was waiting for food or water.

The crowd was screaming --- like schoolgirls -- for the appearance of BelO, Haiti's most recognizable and revered young music star, in his first return to Haiti since the quake struck more than three months ago. It was also a comeback for Haiti, which finally seemed ready for big lights, loud music and, through BelO, an optimistic vision for the future.

BelO, whose given name is Jean Belony Murat, is in every way an unlikely celebrity, especially for Haiti, where his modest demeanor, earnest social message and roots-rock reggae style break the mold in a market usually dominated by traditional music or American-style hip-hop stars.
BelO performs in Aquin, Haiti, on April 3, 2010.

Emily Troutman for AOL
BelO performs in Aquin, Haiti, on April 3 -- his first performance in his home country since Haiti's deadly Jan. 12 earthquake. Between songs, he called for a new beginning for the nation. "We need to rebuild a new Haiti, not the Haiti of Jan. 11."

"I didn't want to be the macho guy, the playboy, the reggae man," he told AOL News about his ascent to popularity in 2005. "I just wanted to be me. ... I know that's where my power is."

On April 3, he took the stage in his signature attire: jeans, sneakers and a cotton T-shirt with a picture of reggae legend Bob Marley. The comparison is lost on no one. BelO has captured Bob Marley's audience, Tracy Chapman's message and Jack Johnson's laid-back beach vibe.

Audience members of all ages danced and sang along with BelO's biggest hits, including the title track of his breakthrough album, "Lakou Trankil." Between songs, people stood quietly transfixed as he spoke about post-earthquake Haiti. "We need to rebuild a new Haiti, not the Haiti of Jan. 11. That country was broken," he said.
Crowd at BelO concert in Aquin, Haiti, on April 3, 2010
Emily Troutman for AOL
The concert was part of Aquin's third annual music festival, which marked a comeback of sorts for the country; it was one of Haiti's first big public events since the disaster.

The third annual music festival in Aquin was staged by the Aquin Solidarity Foundation (Fondation Aquin Solidarite) and was the first large-scale event of its kind since the quake. The foundation nearly canceled the event, but was encouraged to move forward by its main sponsor, Voila, a cell phone company.

The festival hoped to bring attention and culture to this rural community, which offers only a few hundred jobs in the formal sector, although it has the potential to become a tourist destination. For Marguerite "Magguie" Rigaud, one of the organizers of the festival, BelO was the obvious choice to headline the event.

"First of all, everyone likes BelO. And we think he's doing a good job among the young people," she said. "He's against violence, against drugs. He's for a better life, a better society, a good education. Plus, we think he's good therapy."

BelO, in Aquin, waits backstage before his performance on April 3, 2010
Emily Troutman for AOL
BelO waits to take the stage. His positive social message has united Haitians across class and generational lines. "He's against violence, against drugs. He's for a better life, a better society, a good education," a festival organizer said.
The "we" to whom Rigaud refers is not just the powerful group of community leaders and organizers who led the event but also her generation of older Haitians, who are optimistic that BelO can be a transformative figure here. Though unfamiliar to most Americans, BelO is a leading voice for Haiti in France and among Francophone listeners. Since the earthquake, he has been based in Paris.

BelO has an enviable list of accomplishments for someone only 30 years old. He made his debut with a hit album in Haiti in 2005 and gained international attention after winning the Radio France International Decouvertes (Discovery) award in 2006. He has played to audiences of thousands around the world, including 12 African countries. This month, he will embark on an ambitious tour, with dates in Montreal, New York, Vietnam and France.

Despite the popularity of his music, BelO and the loyal group of friends around him consistently say, "It's not about the music -- it's a movement."

He is embraced universally across Haiti's deeply divided classes. BelO attributes much of his grassroots success to his decision to remain middle class. From a financial standpoint, that's been pretty easy. Fame he has; fortune is still a long way off.
Valencia Laguerre
Emily Troutman for AOL
Backup singer Valencia Laguerre made it to the festival even though she has been living in a makeshift tent since the quake.

BelO's brother, Charlot Murat, has been his manager since they were booking neighborhood birthday parties. - AOLNEWS by Emily Troutman

"Haitian guitarist/songwriter BélO takes on the subject of AIDS awareness in "Pap Negosye""

Amy Wilentz describes her September Condé Nast Traveler feature, "Love and Haiti and the Whole Damn Thing," as a love song to the island. This got me thinking about the enormous amount of musical talent that the country produces, from artists recording in Port-au-Prince to those performing for the diaspora in Miami, New York, and Montreal.

Last year I spoke with Wyclef Jean about his Yéle foundation and brought you a bit of his music. Recently, I started hearing about a 30-year-old from Wyclef's hometown, Croix-des-Bouquets, who goes by the stage name BélO. In a short time, BélO's versatile guitar work and slightly raspy, soulful voice have made a fan of me. His MySpace page has a handful of nice cuts from his new album, Référence. My favorites: He plays "Deblozay" in straight-up reggae style; switches to a jazzy, horn-filled R&B sound on "Pa Ri Nan Malem"; and even throws in some rock power chords on "Istwa Dwol." I missed BélO's recent gig at New York's Joe's Pub, but here's a great clip of the show. I won't be making that mistake again.
- Conde Nast traveler by John Oseid August 27, 2009


Journée mondiale du Sida le 1er décembre
Haïti : Le chanteur BelO invite les jeunes à ne pas négocier leur santé sexuelle

samedi 1er décembre 2007

P-au-P, 1er déc 07 [AlterPresse] --- Le jeune chanteur haïtien, Jean Bélony Murat (BelO), récipiendaire du Prix Découvertes RFI 2006, convie les jeunes à ne pas négocier leur santé sexuelle dans une nouvelle chanson intitulée P ap Negosye, apprend l’agence en ligne AlterPresse.

P ap Negosye raconte l’histoire de deux jeunes qui se sont rencontrés. Au moment de rentrer en contact sexuel, la fille insiste et le jeune homme affirme n´être pas prêt à partager une relation sexuelle sans préservatif, selon une note parvenue à AlterPresse,.

« Ceci est un message social que BelO veut partager avec les jeunes du monde entier, à la société en générale et spécialement aux jeunes de son pays Haïti qu’il aime tant », souligne la note.

Le clip « Pap Negosye » sera joué pour la première fois sur scène au siège de l´Onusida à Port-au-Prince à l’occasion de la journée mondiale du SIDA ce samedi 1er décembre 2007.

A travers ce morceau, BelO « pense que le pays a besoin de ses fils pour jeter les bases réelles d’un développement durable, mais des fils en bonne santé ».

Sortie officiellement le 30 novembre 2007, cette nouvelle composition vidéoclipée de BelO, qui figurera sur son deuxième album, a reçu le support de l´organisation Volontariat pour le Développement d´Haïti (Vdh).

Ce nouveau morceau de BelO a été réalisé au Median Studio de Miami avec la participation de musiciens chevronnés, tels le saxophoniste Jowee Homicile, le guitariste Andy Barrow et le percussionniste Carlos Atumayo.

En 2006, BelO a été récompensé par Radio France Internationale pour son album Lakou Trankil après avoir participé au Prix Découvertes RFI 2006.

Contrairement à ce qui a été dit dans la presse, Haïti a raté l´occasion d´accueillir en 2007 la grande finale de ce prix. Le Prix Découvertes RFI 2007 sera déclaré à Conakry au début du mois de décembre. [do rc apr 1er/12/2007 0:30]

"BelO a Paris"

Soirée animée par Claudy Siar

Enregistrement de l’émission « Couleurs Tropicales »

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Le jury du prix Découvertes RFI Musiques du Monde 2007 présidé par Meiway a désigné l'artiste haïtien Bélo, comme lauréat de cette 25ème édition.

Né à Croix des Bouquets à Haïti, tout comme Wyclef Jean, Bélo est un jeune auteur, compositeur, interprète. Doté de qualités vocales exceptionnelles, son style à fortes dominantes reggae et ragga panache subtilement les musiques de la Caraïbe en y ajoutant une touche de soul.

Autodidacte, il choisit la guitare comme instrument d’accompagnement et saisit toutes les occasions pour se produire en public. Bélo se fait rapidement remarquer pour ses performances scéniques et enregistre son premier album. Sorti en août 2005, « Lakou Trankil », est une œuvre personnelle et engagée qui traite, à travers des mélodies finement ciselées, des problèmes que traverse son pays.

Le succès est au rendez-vous en Haïti et dans les Antilles françaises. Cette année le concours de radios francophones « radiofffonies » a classé Bélo parmi les 20 meilleurs artistes francophones de 2006.

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Article publié le 12/01/2007

"Haitian References"

World Music Central

Sunday, December 28 2008

Blending Haitian tradition with modern production and an easygoing flow that goes down like smooth jazz at times, the music of Haiti’s BelO is equal parts Caribbean, African, Francophone and worlds beyond. His balladeer’s voice and acoustic guitar are prominent throughout these songs of hardship and hope (not exactly uncommon subject matter considering where BelO hails from), giving the tracks an intimate, confessional quality such that the strength of the accompanying arrangements kind of sneaks up you to seal the deal.

The polished- but not sanitized -nature of the music, which is laced with moody keyboards and light programming, does not belie the fact that this is genuine Haitian roots despite the occasional soprano saxophone or synthesized string section. Though I can’t help but wonder what BelO would sound like tearing into some grittier material the way such compatriots as Boukman Eksperyans do, what he’s done on this tasty disc is a strong meeting of singer/songwriter expertise and melodic craftsmanship. And the presence of such guests as Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona doesn’t hurt one bit.

- World Music Central -Contributed by: TOrr


BélO est un des artistes haïtiens les plus populaires dans son pays. Lauréat en 2006 du prix RFI Découverte en 2006, il poursuit depuis la sortie de son premier albumLakou trankil en 2005 une riche carrière, donnant des concerts partout dans le monde et notamment dans les Caraïbes et en Afrique. Il s’est produit aux Francofolies de Montréal le 17 juin dernier devant un public enthousiaste, partageant avec bonheur un répertoire métissé.
Depuis combien de temps fais-tu de la musique ?
Depuis la naissance ! Mais professionnellement, ça fait dix ans. J’ai sorti quatre albums jusqu’à présent. [Le dernier, Natif natal, est sorti en 2014, ndlr.]
Je suis très contente de voir un artiste haïtien programmé aux Francofolies parce que c’est difficile de vous entendre en France. Par contre, tu es très populaire en Haïti. Fais-tu parti des meilleurs musiciens là-bas ?
Je suis l’un des chanceux. Haïti est un pays où il y a beaucoup de talents mais très peu d’encadrement. Quand tu sors du lot, tu ne peux pas prétendre être le meilleur : il y a juste eu un coup de chance, une opportunité que tu as pu saisir.
Sinon, Haïti est un pays essentiellement culturel. On a beaucoup d’artistes dans toutes les disciplines, que ce soit la danse, la sculpture, la peinture, la littérature ou la musique.

Tu définis ta musique comme de la fusion, le mélange de plusieurs styles. Pourquoi ?
Je fais une musique à l’image de mon pays. On est avant tout haïtiens, mais on est aussi africains d’origine, on est situés dans les Amériques, voisins avec les latinos et on a été colonisés par la France. Ça laisse des héritages culturels. On est aussi très influencés par l’Amérique du Nord, les États- Unis et on est à une heure et demie de Miami. Donc tout ça — notre histoire, notre position géographique — fait qu’en Haïti, on écoute de tout. Moi, je me base sur la musique traditionnelle et je mets autour toutes les musiques que j’écoute.
Tu chantes essentiellement en créole. C’est un choix politique ?
La première mission de ma musique, c’est d’éduquer. Je suis très engagé. Pour moi, c’est important que le message arrive vers la population haïtienne avant tout. Pour le reste du monde, si la musique est bonne, ça va traverser. L’émotion peut passer d’une nation à une autre, d’une langue à une autre, mais pour moi, c’est important de continuer à faire ce travail d’éducation.
Penses-tu faire des chansons en français un jour ?
Pourquoi pas ! Je suis francophone et je suis ambassadeur de la francophonie en Haïti.
Comment as-tu appris la musique ?
J’ai tout appris en écoutant. Même la guitare, je l’ai apprise en autodidacte.
Est-ce que tu as un message à faire passer à nos lecteurs français ?
J’ai plusieurs messages pour les Français ! Il vient de se passer quelque chose d’historique entre Haïti et la France. On a reçu il y a quelques semaines le président français. C’est
la seule fois, hormis celle où le président Nicolas Sarkosy a visité Haïti, mais c’était plus dans un cadre humanitaire suite au tremblement de terre. De manière diplomatique, c’est la première fois. Je sais qu’entre Haïti et la France, il y a une longue histoire et il y a encore de la haine, mais la visite de M. François Hollande, c’est une façon de dire qu’on est en 2015 maintenant, donc ce n’est pas la peine de traîner derrière nous les bêtises qu’on fait des gens il y a plus de deux cents ans. Peut-être que tous les Haïtiens ne seront pas d’accord avec moi, mais ma position, c’est qu’on vit maintenant dans un village où il ne faut pas trois mois en bateau pour arriver en Haïti. Le monde est vraiment un village, l’espérance de vie augmente. Donc allons profiter de la beauté du monde, allons profiter du soleil d’Haïti ou de la neige de la France, allons profiter de toutes les possibilités que nous offre cette planète pour vivre en tant qu’humains avant tout.
Privilégier l’échange ?
Oui, c’est important. - Carnetdart


Lakou Trankil ®2005 ( Soley Sounds )
Reference NatiProd/Discograph)®2008
Compilation Francophone ( 2008 )
"Ti Jean" New Single BélO Featuring Saël- SACEM Special Prize Caribbean 2010
Haïti Debout (2011)



BélO (Haiti)

BélO has been hailed as Haiti’s musical ambassador to the world. A socially conscious singer-songwriter with a sophisticated sound and winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious "Prix Radio France International Discoveries of 2006," BelO’s sound is a sublime mixture of Jazz, Worldbeat, Rock, Reggae and Afro- Haitian traditional rhythms known as “Ragganga”. With the two albums already under his belt-“LAKOU TRANKIL” (2005) and "REFERENCE" (2008)-sung in his rich and colorful native language, Haitian Creole, BélO has established himself as a Haitian-International artist signpost. After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, BélO 's primary focus was to create awareness for his country at various performances around the world. BélO 's third album "HAITI DEBOUT," (Haiti Stand-up -2011) was released under Radio France/France Info and distributed, globally, by Harmonia Mundi. During the " HAITI DEBOUT " tour, BélO has performed in Germany, Rome, Romania, France, South Korea, London, Canada and the U.S.

BélO has always been very committed to the cause of the less fortunate, the education of children, respect for women, social solidarity and environmental protection, peace in Haiti and around the world. The earthquake, which devastated his country, gives more strength to his commitment and intensifies the messages he conveys in his songs.

“HAITI DEBOUT " is dedicated to Haiti and the strength of the Haitian people. With the third album, BélO took a step further into the roots sound exploring the Haitian "Rasin" rhythms and African flavors where we notice the presence of the talking drum and other similar percussions.

BélO was invited to showcase at Globalfest NY in 2012. He was also invited to participate at the Center Stage month tour (Oct-Nov 2012) in the U.S. Center Stage is a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During the Center Stage tour, BélO performed and conducted numerous seminars across America.

BélO released a new album title “Natif Natal” (Global release date April 9, 2014) with a worldwide tour beginning in the United States. “Banm Nouvel”, single and music video, was the first release off “Natif Natal” in 2013.  Natif Natal, is a journey of emotional social struggles, love and the need to belong.

 Selected Awards  •World Citizen Artist 2014 and World Citizen Artist Ambassador 2015• Ambassador de la Francophonie en Haiti (OIF) 2012  •City of North Adams Welcomes BélO –Mayor Richard Alcombright 2012  •SACEM Caribbean song of the year Award 2010 for “Ti Jean” (2010) • Winner RFI Discovered Music of the World 2006 (Nov 2006)  • 2007) •Itinerant Ambassador of Haitian Music (Library Georges Castrated Limbé) (Feb 2007

Partial  venue list
Millennium Stage / Kennedy Center for the Performing, D.C
Raymond F Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, WPB, FL
Globalfest @ Webster Hall, NY
Curtis M Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, FL University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
NYC Chicago Folk & Roots Festival, 
 La fete de la Marquette, Madison WI 
Damrosch Park Bandshell-Lincoln Center, 
NYC 44th Huntington Summer Festival, LI 
Joe's Pub, NYC 
New Jersey Performing Arts 
French Institute Alliance Francaise de New York, NYC
-NBC Omni Auditorium, FL 
Harman center for the arts-
The African Diaspora Inaugural Ball. D.C 
Tampa Bay Performing Art Center, FL 
River to River Festival-NY
Louisiana International Festival
University de Lyon, France 
Au Mandingue, Angouleme, FR 
Festival Musique Metisse, Angouleme, FR" 
Au Festival Kaloo Bang de St Denis, France 
Festival Sans Chaines, Pontarlier, FR" 
Au Festival, Kaloo Bang de St Denis, FR 
Baise Sale, FR New Morning, FR 
Babel Med Music, FR 
Hotel de ville, FR 
Le Botanique, Bruxelle 
Theatre de Chatelet, FR 
Festival Sakifo, Ile de la Reunion, FR 
Casa de Cultura, IASI, RO" 
CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum, London 
Africa Festival, Wurzburg, DE 
Auditorium Parco Della Musica,Rome, IT 
Paleo Festival, Switzerland, DE 
Le 13ieme Sommet de la francophonie en Suisse Congress Hall Dogan, Innsbruck, Austria, AT
Montreux Jazz Festival

EPK full version: for password 

Band Members