Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès: 7:30 p.m. Tues., Oct. 9, Herrick Chapel
Haiti’s top twoubadou [troubadour], Ti-Coca and his band Wanga-Nègès take the stage October 9 in the latest performance in Grinnell’s Public Events Series. Evolved in Haiti’s isolated rural areas, twoubadous’ repertoire — often referring to history, turning past events into parables — is apolitical, but has become a key touchstone for Haitians, privileged and poor alike.
“I want Americans to have a real taste of Haiti. I mean, a taste of traditional culture, what rural life is like,” reflects Ti-Coca, “to have the essence of the real Haiti, not what people see in the media. I want to put the audience in a place of mind that’s magical, so they can forget all the worries they have and simply enjoy another culture they don’t know.”
Described by BBC News as “a loose-limbed, rootsy treat,” Wanga-Nègès (the name refers to a hummingbird that’s a symbol of seduction) was formed by David Mettelus — Ti-Coca (‘little coke bottle’) in 1976.
“We’re very Haitian in the rhythm, the words, the feeling. It’s dance music you can find in the streets, the beaches, private parties. It’s very tasty and easy to dance to. Lyrics can be critical of society, they often are. But this music is first made to share a moment of pleasure between people,” Ti-Coca says.
The Public Events Series is only one of the many programs offering entertainment on campus. The College hosts more than 500 free events each year, including concerts, films, film festivals, comedians, and much more selected and hosted by students representatives in the Student Government Association and by programs throughout campus.
Tickets are required for the performance, and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office beginning Wed., Oct. 4, noon to 5 p.m. A limited number of tickets are also available at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. There is a two-ticket limit per person present at the box office. Phone reservations are not accepted.