Boukan Ginen stands for “Fire from Africa” in Haitian creole. Founded in 1990, the 10-member group is at the forefront of the mizik rasin (roots music) movement that has captivated Haiti both musically and politically. Fronted by former Boukman Eksperyan’s lead singer, Eddie Francois (called “Haiti’s best male vocalist” by the Village Voice), Boukan Ginen plays a blend of powerful rara rhythms and group chanting of voodoo-inspired passion. The battery of hand-drummers rumble with African and reggae spirit.
Boukan Ginen won the prize for best carnival song at the 1991 Carnival in Port-au-Prince, for their performance of “Pale Pale W”, a song later released on their debut album, Jou a Rive. The song title means “talk” and includes lyrics widely interpreted as supporting the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The band’s music was suppressed by the military authority of the junta led by Raoul Cadras that ruled the country from 1991 to 1994. In 1994, Boukan Ginen became the third Hatian musical group to receive the Prix DAcouverte from Radio France International.