Twoubadou Folk Music, The Soul of Haiti
There's much that connects the twoubadou tradition in Haiti with the troubadour of Medieval Europe. The traditional folk music of Haiti, twoubadou performers mimic their ancient troubadour cousins, mixing poetry and music to entertain with suggestive, often humorous expressions of love, lust, and the trials of daily life. Twoubadou emerged in Haiti in the early 1900s, when seasonal laborers working the cane fields in Cuba
came to know and love Cuban guajiro music. They combined the Cuban sound with Haitian méringue creating twoubadou. To me, twoubadou embodies the soul of Haiti, both in the message of the songs and the resilient nature of a typical band's composition. Every time I’ve seen a twoubadou band playing anywhere in Haiti, be it along the Champs de Mars or in the lobby of the Marriott Port-au-Prince, the set up is the same: acoustic guitars, a pair of maracas, percussion, cowbell, a scraper, a drum – nothing so cumbersome that it couldn’t make the journey to and from the cane fields in Cuba. Like the people of Haiti, twoubadou endures no matter what.