Our first community impact event occurred in October, with legendary Haitian musician Boulo Valcourt’s Masterclass and Performance. Boulo was born in Cap-Haitien on February 12, 1946. He began singing and playing guitar at 16 years old. The first group he formed, “Les Copains,” marked a crossroads in Haitian music. At the age of 18 he moved to Canada, where he studied electronics and aviation. During his stay in Canada, he formed a band called” Caribbean,” which toured all over northeast Canada. In 1971, Boulo moved to New York and formed his next grou, “Ibo Combo.” Upon his return to Haiti in 1975, he formed a band called “Horizon 75,” which merged Boulo’s jazz experience in the US with his traditional Haitian music roots. “Horizon 75” eventually evolved into “Caribbean Sextet,” and in 1986 Bulo won first prize at the International Troubadour Festival in Curacao. Boulo is recognized as one of the original troubadours of Haiti, known for his originality, guitar skills, mesmerizing voice, and Jazz-styles throughout Haiti and the world.
For his workshop, Boulo spoke about his experience as a musician and what engineers need from a musician’s perspective. He also touched on the importance of an engineer’s own musicianship skills, and encouraged all the students to practice their own instrument work as much as possible. Boulo made a great impression by describing the importance of melody to the students, the ability to communicate with artists, and how all these factors must come together to reach the goal of “inspiration of your ears.”
The following night, Boulo was the featured artist in the first concert of the “Audio Institute Presents” series. He was joined on stage by local acts Lakou Mizik and Jean Marc Jepiel, and Audio Institute students DJ Greg and DJ Winner spun the afterparty. For this event, the students did all of the pre-production work with the assistance of the professors, and the atmosphere was incredibly positive with a packed house of 203 people at the Village Karaibe in downtown Jacmel. “Audio Institute Presents” has since become a regular series, where students get great promotion and production experience.