Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The environmental and political travesties there, coupled with the devastating natural phenomena that have pelted the country are documented over centuries. And with the recent landfall of Hurricane Sandy, it would seem that there is no end in sight for the struggling country.
Eddy Cange, a Portland-based musician and member of the all-Haitian band Balans, knows about the harsh realities of life in Haiti all too well. He grew up there, leaving when he was 24 years old to come to the United States after his parents disappeared and were presumably assassinated in the mid-1980s.
It has been a long road for Eddy Cange, one paved with grief, death, devastation and joy — experiences that fuel passionate and political songs. He has found a home in Portland, where he and his wife can raise their children without the constant, unsettling feeling that everything they have could be swept away with one horrific event. Now 46, the Haitian-American musician has found an outlet for the feelings he has about his homeland — making music. Cange’s band, Balans, will play in a lineup of bands at the Someday Lounge in Old Town, Saturday, Nov. 24.
Sue Zalokar: Tell me about your band, Balans.
Eddy Cange: We have seven players. All of us come from Haiti. I’m a singer and a drummer. I play conga, cowbell and drum set. At first we started like a gospel band. We made two CDs. After that, all the players went to school because they are young people. They all went to college and the band kind of broke down. And then we re group again, so we make the band we have now. We play Reggae, American music and Haitian music – but mostly Haitian music. Continue reading