Haitian singing duo open women’s month at BAM

Celebrating women: Haitian-American artists, Anie Alerte, left, and Riva Nyri Precil form the duo Anie and Riva. The singers will be kicking off BAM’s women’s month celebration on March 3.
Francesca Andre / Gustavo Torres

Two Haitian-American singers are opening BAM Cafe’s Women’s Month Celebration with a traditional Haitian music performance on March 3. Anie Alerte and Riva Nyri Precil, together form the pair Anie and Riva, will be honoring women with classic sounds from their homeland.

During the one-hour show, the duo whose musical styles range from soul, jazz, to traditional Haitian music, are set to sing an array of popular Haitian songs. Their act includes a few tunes that are well-known, and they also hope to gain newer listeners being introduced to the rhythms for the first time, said Precil.

“We are performing many traditional classics that the crowd will most likely recognize,” she said. “For those who are new to this style, it will definitely be an interesting upbeat surprise which will hopefully intrigue them and leave them wanting more.”

And there will be dancing as well, which Precil hopes encourages guests to vibe along.

“I like to keep my performance fun and entertaining so I dance a lot during my sets since the music is so lively and the rhythms are hypnotic,” she said. “The idea is to get everyone on their feet.”

Alerte said one particular song they will sing, “La Woman,” highlights universal pride in womanhood and the strength of women in Haiti in the face of adversity.

“It’s a song by Haitian singer Yole Derose, that tells the story of Haitian men and women in Bateys in Dominican Republic — it’s a story of a resilient woman who has to raise her children in the absence of her father,” said Alerte.

Other songs such as Precil’s empowerment song “Nan Domi,” which means “in a dream” in Haitian Creole, focuses on neocolonialism and the responsibility of carrying the torch of ancestors.

“It’s an original song which speaks to the fact that Haiti no longer belongs to us natives and encourages listeners to take a stance and take our land back into our own hands,” said Precil. “In a sense, not to let our ancestors down. We have to be strong for them since they were so strong for us.”

Celebrating women during a month commemorating their lives and achievements is important, and Precil said she and Alerte are using their performance to showcase that it needs to be a daily priority.

“Women should be celebrated every single day, so when we get an entire month we should maximize on that opportunity to show them what we’ve got and flaunt our endless gifts,” said Precil.

Anie and Riva at BAM Cafe Peter Jay Sharp building [30 Lafayette Ave. between St. Felix St. and Ashland Pl in Fort Greene, www.bam.org, (718)636-4100]. March 3 at 9:30 pm.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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