It’s almost Friday and I’m in love with Big Night Little Haiti at the Little Haiti Cultural Center (LHCC). Now it’s time for you to fall in love.
Big Night Little Haiti has quickly become a cultural mecca in the heart of Little Haiti that draws fans from all corners of South Florida. The festival is a fusion of Caribbean heritage where one can experience the art, dance, crafts and food from the region in one evening that is both fun, insprational and free!
Next Friday, July 20th, 2012 singer, poet, guitarist, political activist and, yes, former mayor of Port-au-Prince Manno Charlemagne will headline the festival. Charlemagne’s unassuming yet magnetic energy has been entertaining patrons for years at Tap Tap, the swank Haitian restaurant on South Beach. However Charlemagne’s work emerges from much more subdued terrain far from the neon glitz and scantily clad circus of South Beach.
Just an 1 hour and 22 minutes from Miami, another world rises out of the sea where a gorgeous and sometimes brutal countryside serves as a backdrop for the everyday lives of proud, hard-working Haitian peasants. These inhabitants, who are the backbone of the Haitian economy, are conjured up through Charlemagne’s work. And it is a magical experience.
Warning: I am biased. I live just a short bike ride away from the center, so it’s easy for me to pop over and experience the rich cultural firestorm brewing in my neighborhood. But if I had to drive 20 miles to get here, I would because Big Night Little Haiti embodies the true meaing of festival.
Big Night in Little Haiti takes place the third Friday of every month, and admission is free. On Friday, July 20 from 6-10 p.m., watch Manno Charlemagne live in concert, with an opening set by Amigos do Samba.
Little Haiti Cultural Center: 212 NE 59 Terrace, Miami; 305-960-2969; www.bignightlittlehaiti.com