(Cleveland, OH) - Celebrated Haitian group RAM continue on their U.S. Tour, comnig to Cleveland to co-headline Solstice 2017, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Saturday, June 24. Showtime: 8:00pm to 1:00am. (Event is sold out). Info: (216) 421-7350 or http://www.clevelandart.org/events/special-events/solstice-2017.
Celebrate the long summer days and hot summer nights at the museum’s Ninth-Annual Solstice—a night where art and music come together. Guests will have an opportunity to enjoy dynamic and cutting-edge music from around the world, and explore the museum galleries late into the night. Solstice has become the most anticipated event of the summer, featuring two stages packed with forward-looking artists from around the globe.
About RAM: RAM encompasses a musical style that came together in Haiti in the late 1700's when Africa met the Caribbean at a drum ceremony in the woods. Of course this generation adds electric guitars to the mix. The band derives its name from the initials of its founder, songwriter, and lead male vocalist, Richard A. Morse. Though it's not easy to describe the band's original sound, it is undeniably danceable and you can detect influences of the Blues, the Caribbean Islands and an occasional riff that reminds us that The Clash did visit the Caribbean.
RAM began performing together in 1990, and recorded their first album in 1996. RAM's songs include lyrics in Kreyol, French, and English. Eventually, Morse became so involved in the Vodou religion through his music that he was initiated as a houngan, or Vodou priest, in 2002. Describing a RAM concert, Morse explains, "Yes, you might see our dancers go into a trance. Some get possessed by the loas, to the rhythm of the drums, but it's a natural state when it happens. You can't fake it."
RAM is famous for its regular Thursday night performances at the Hotel Oloffson in downtown Port-au-Prince, attended by hotel guests and a wide spectrum of the country's political and racial groups. During the years of the military junta of Raoul Cedras, one of the band's singles, "Fey", was banned nationwide by the military authorities who perceived it to be a song of support for exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The band continued to play weekly concerts in defiance of death threats from the regime, while Morse only narrowly escaped a kidnapping at the hotel in 1994. RAM began recording albums in 1996, after United States military intervention restored Aristide to power. In 1998, the group clashed with the newly-elected mayor of Port-au-Prince, a supporter of Aristide, and survived an assassination attempt during their Carnival performance. Through its song lyrics, RAM continued to provoke the antagonism of both the supporters of Aristide and former military regimes.
In 2016 RAM released the critically-acclaimed full-length album, RAM 6: Manman me se Ginen, the band's first studio album in ten years. “This generation is electric. But the rhythms are traditional,” said vocalist, Richard Morse. “The melodies are traditional. We have taken the ceremonial and mixed with the street. That’s when you hear the rara horns,” a mix that leaps out on tracks like “Papa Loko.” “We’ve added street music to a band, and taken more arranged band stuff out into the streets.”
RAM U.S. Spring/Summer Tour Itinerary Live Shows/Special Events:
June 16 (Fri.) S.O.B.'S* New York City, NY
June 17 (Sat.) ROOTS OF DEVELOPMENT ARTS FEST* Washington, DC
June 18 (Sun.) CREOLE FESTIVAL Brooklyn, NY
June 21 (Wed.) JOHN AND PETER'S PLACE* New Hope, PA
June 22 (Thur.) ABINGTON ARTS CENTER* Jenkintown, PA
June 24 (Sat.) SOLSTICE 2017** Cleveland, OH
July 1 (Sat.) HAITIAN FESTIVAL W. Palm Beach, FL
July 2 (Sun.) HAITIAN FESTIVAL W. Palm Beach, FL
Photo: Christopher L. Mitchell