Orchestre Septentrional D'Haiti a National Treasure
L'Orchestre Septentrional d'Haiti, the island's most venerable band, has been recording, touring, and playing for 66 years. Forging a pathway of its own, it has ignored common wisdom saying, to be relevant a band must adopt the latest music craze.
Septen, as the band is known by generations of fans, was launched in 1948 by merging two smaller orchestras. Avatars of Haitian music, they have produced their own unique style of percussion- and horn-driven compositions, over 500 of them. Whenever a new member joins, they are not allowed to tour until they have mastered the band's complete catalog.
While remaining true to its musical roots, Septen has been capable of adapting to each new music era without losing its soul. It does so by taking modern genres such as Konpa, bolero, and meringue and making them their own.
When Septen tours, it does so by bus over Haiti's nearly impassable roads, hauling its equipment by truck. Nothing stops the indefatigable band, not even the theft of its music some time back, necessitating recreation of many arrangements.