Goussy Célestin's Ayiti Brass
A music performance and dance ensemble
Goussy Célestin's Ayiti Brass is the current project that is the focus of Ms Célestin’s expansive creative energy. It is a music performance and dance ensemble, consisting of 10 musicians and 2 dancers in its fullest incarnation. The project is a long held vision of Ms. Célestin, and the culmination of the blending of her artistic experience, interests and cultural heritage. Incorporating both sound and movement, including New Orleans’ second-line and Haiti’s Rara traditions — fused with Jazz, Call-and-Response, and Field Hollers — Goussy Célestin’s Ayiti Brass has as its mission to engage and awaken audiences, workshop participants and community at large in an impactful way, ultimately evoking an experience of connection, openness and possibilities. Performances will encourage attendees to participate in song and dance, aiming to leave them moved and uplifted.
Such an ensemble is a bold foray into a new territory at the intersection of music, dance, creativity and community. This particular cultural combination has never existed before…at least not since the days of the turn of the century - the 19th century - when former Haitian slaves brought their cultural traditions to New Orleans during the Haitian Revolution, adding to that city’s unique diversity. Jazz ensembles and Haitian bands abound today, but rarely the combination of these traditions which encourages audience interaction. Ayiti Brass performances will foster an interactive experience, taking place in the round wherever possible, dismantling the separation between “performer” and “audience” encountered in most settings.
This vision stems from Ms. Célestin’s experiences growing up as “the other” in New York City, where misconceptions and stereotypes abounded regarding Haiti and its people, many of which continue today. Through exposure to the gifts of Haitian culture, Ayiti Brass aims to move people to connect across "otherness". Combining traditional and contemporary dance, jazz, and arrangements of traditional vodou songs, audiences will be enlightened via exposure to the positive spiritual aspect of Haitian culture, combatting the ignorance that has been perpetuated for far too long.
Put simply, Goussy Célestin's Ayiti Brass aims to foster connection through music and movement, providing an immersive experience aiming to breakdown preconceived expectations: about art, about ourselves, about one another, and about community.
Read about our first performance here!
Ms. Célestin has performed in a variety of contexts, locally and internationally as pianist vocalist and dancer. Her compositions/arrangements and choreography have made an indelible impression. She continues to be in demand for collaboration, sought after for her unique artisitc contributions and mastery of a breadth of creative disciplines.
Photo by Eric Bandiero, On Pointe Photography
D.O.M.E. Experience performance
- Shapeshifter Lab (April 2013)
Solo dance performance of Be Like Water, aka FLOW
- Triskelion Arts, Muriel Schulman Theater (October 2015)
Photo by JSaint Claire