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Haitian Roots In Cuba: Desandann
"The Creole Choir of Cuba"

A Traditional Haitian Vocal Ensemble
rom Camaguey, Cuba

A vocal and percussion ensemble, Desandann celebrates and preserves the rich legacy of Haitian cultural traditions in Cuba. The ensemble grew out of a request by members of the Association of Haitian Residents and Cubans of Haitian descent (see Haiti in Cuba) to research and compile traditional Haitian music. In a short time they have gained national and international recognition.

Between 1795 and 1805 30,000 Haitians emigrated to eastern Cuba with another wave occurring from 1920-1940 and yet another in the 1980s.  Today, estimates of the Haitian population in Cuba range from 300,000 on up to 1 million. Each wave of immigrants had its own distinct characteristics and brought with them the strong musical and dance traditions, their religion, customs, rituals and cultural habits on their journey from Haiti to Cuba. With information gathered from generations of Haitian immigrants, Desandann promotes and performs music of Haitian origin, especially "La Cancionistica", music which has been enriched by elements of other Creole speaking Caribbean countries.

They have presented their work extensively in Cuba through participation in the 3rd Festivals of Choruses and the Caribbean Festival, regional activities linked to the Association of Haitian Residents and Descendants of Haiti, radio programs, as well as to international audiences.

Desandann is composed of ten multi-faceted musicians who sing as well as play a variety of percussion instruments. Emilia Diaz Chavez, the director of the group, is a graduate of the Choral Division of Cuba's National School of Art and hold a Masters in Musical Education. She is the director of the Chorus of Camaguey and teaches throughout the province of Camaguey. Desandann's repertoire consists of a wide range of choral arrangements with percussion accompaniment including Choucoune, a Haitian merengue, Gran Toumobile a Creole Mazurka, and Doudou Moin, a Martinique merengue.

For further information about Desandann and/or their U.S. schedule, contact: the Tour Management

Desandann News

Pensar en el hoy y en el mañana  6/23/2014 Principe: "Hoy Heidy Cepero Recoder vive la satisfacción de haber encontrado tempranamente su vocación. Y, como si fuera poco, se le reconoce por su quehacer, como ocurrió recientemente con su nominación en la Feria Internacional Cubadisco 2014, por las notas discográficas que escribió para el fonograma Anfom: Grupo Vocal Desandann. «Lo cierto es que existe muy poca información vocacional sobre esta profesión tan valiosa. A mí, tanto en el nivel elemental como en el medio, me fueron motivando para que me interesara por la investigación, al punto de que llega un momento en que sientes que ya casi no puedes vivir sin estas indagaciones sobre los más diversos fenómenos musicales, cuyos resultados siempre aportan datos útiles a los intérpretes. Por tanto, me resultó muy fácil decidirme por la Musicología», enfatiza esta joven, que integra la dirección nacional de la Asociación Hermanos Saíz (AHS)."

Vocal Desandann: from Cuba, Ambassadors of the Haitian culture  6/5/2014 Cuba Contemporánea: "The recent 18th International trade fair Cubadisco 2014 and the award in the category of Vocal music to its first phonogram produced in Cuba under the auspices of the Colibrí record label Anfom: Vocal Group Desandann (in creole language Anfom means "shaped" and Desandann "descendants"), were the pretext to learn about this distinguished institution of the province of Camaguey. Descendants all of Haitians, from a first to a fourth generation, as a family gets together to rehearse in the House of Emilia Díaz Chávez, Director of that group, in the midst of celebrations this year anniversary 20 of its conformation."

The Creole Choir of Cuba – UK tour – January/ February 2011  1/4/2011 Timba Geek: "Prepare to be blown away by The Creole Choir of Cuba – the passionate melodies, wild harmonies and richly textured arrangements of ten inspiring vocalists. This is something new from Cuba, the most original vocal sound to come out of the country in a long while. Desandann, the Choir’s Cuban name, literally means ‘descendents’ and with the songs on their album ‘Tande-La’ (which translates to ‘listen’) they tell the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to work in near slave conditions in the sugar and coffee plantations."


Schedule 2013top

Tue 02/26/13 Gainesville, FL Univ. Of FL Phillips Center


June 2001 U.S. tour of Grupo Vocal Desandann.

Based in Camaguey, Cuba, Grupo Vocal Desandann is a Cuban-Haitian ensemble of 10 singers dedicated to sustaining and renewing that culture as it exists in Cuba. The group performs a repertoire of popular, traditional and spiritual Haitian songs that are arranged and freshly interpreted by members of the group. Grupo Vocal Desandann is an exceptional group with many links to Haitian communities in the U.S. as well as to more general audiences. Their always-growing repertoire of songs tells the stories of Haitian émigrés – longing for Haiti and determined to keep their culture close to the heart.

CD ("Descendants") available from Bembé Records (see Discography)

June 2 Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

June 4-6 Discover Jazz Festival & Flynn Center for the Arts, Burlington, VT

June 7-10 Miami Light Project, Miami, FL

1999 US Tour

Building on the enormous success of its 1997 U.S. debut, GRUPO VOCAL DESANDANN will return to the U.S. for performances and residencies in October-November 1999.

GRUPO VOCAL DESANDANN, a Cuban-Haitian ensemble of 10 singers based in Camaguey, Cuba, performs a repertory of popular, traditional and sacred Haitian songs that are arranged and freshly interpreted by members of the group. GRUPO VOCAL DESANDANN is an exceptional group with many links to Haitian communities in the U.S. as well as to choral ensembles and choirs from all backgrounds.

The 1999-2000 U.S. tour of GRUPO VOCAL DESANDANN will be produced by MultiArts Projects and Productions and the Network of Cultural Center of Color. Pentacle will book the tour and we have arranged for performances and community activities in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, California, Indiana, Florida, Maine, Louisiana and Chicago. 

If you are interested in participating in the tour or want to receive information, please contact: Ann Rosenthal or Cathy Zimmerman
MultiArts Projects & Productions
140 Second Avenue, Suite 502
NY NY 10003
tel: 646-602-9390
fax: 646-602-9395


1997 Desandann Tour Scheduletop

October 11 - 14 Available
October 15 - 18 in residence in San Antonio, Texas, with the Carver Community and Cultural Center
October 19 - 22 Available
October 23 - 26 Washington D.C. and College Park, MD with the Washington Performing Arts Society and Concert Society



Audio CD (July 20, 1999)
Original Release Date: July 20, 1999
Number of Discs: 1

Click for pricing & to order  ==>


Contacting the Desandann Tour Managementtop

Ann Rosenthal, Executive Director
MultiArts Projects & Productions
140 Second Avenue, Suite 502
NY NY 10003
tel: 646-602-9390
fax: 646-602-9395

Contacting AfroCubaWeb:top

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