DJ Gardy Girault Is Elevating The Haitian EDM Movement To The World Stage
The creator behind the “Rara Tech” EDM movement explains how his new music genre is changing perceptions toward Haiti.
“You know, it feels like the world is finally associating Haiti with its positive, rich culture,” said Gardy Girault, fresh off his evening flight from Dubai and just a few days after performing his EDM trademark, “Rara Tech,” in several European cities. “Hip-hop is still dominating in the U.S.; we participate and make our own version of it, but we also have something very unique to offer the world—our own tradition.”
We’re lounging in Miami’s Wynwood Yard, discussing the ways in which afro-pop has built a connecting bridge for the African diaspora, and how Jamaicans and Puerto Ricans have historically used their soft power, their musical export, to entice investment in their respective country. Haitian culture, on the other hand, has been reluctantly insular—Haiti is a francophone country surrounded by Latin American and Caribbean neighbors, whose marginalized groups tend to spark cultural movements in Spanish or English.
“It’s officially Haiti’s time now,” said Girault, sitting on a high barstool, grinning and nodding his head.
Techno and House, which originally derived from its black American protest roots in Detroit and Chicago, is now infused with a fresh hybrid of traditional Haitian sounds called Rara, a form of festival music celebrating African ancestry with vodou (voodoo) and Taíno indigenous elements. Visit the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the epicenter of the movement, and an eclectic community of DJs and artists will steer aficionados towards Gardy Girault’s legendary dance party, No Passport.
Girault, through his infectious music production, is spreading the “No Passport” vibes to American audiences. He is playing alongside Haitian EDM star Michael Brun at the sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York on November 24th. @Okayplayer caught up with Girault to continue our conversation on the lifeline of the burgeoning wave and what he wants the world to know about Haiti.