Haitian Musician Belo to Perform at MCLA Presents!


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) will welcome Haitian guitarist and singer BélO to its Church Street Center on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 8 p.m. for the its MCLA Presents! performance.


In addition to delivering a high energy mix of jazz, worldbeat, rock, reggae and BélO and Afro-Haitian traditional rhythm known as Ragganga, BélO and his band will meet with MCLA students in and out of the classroom, according to Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA.


Hailed as Haiti's musical ambassador to the world, the singer-songwriter will spend time working with students, talking about life in Haiti and where the influences of his music originate.


The show is co-presented MCLA's Office of Academic Affairs, Diversity Task Force and the MCLA Multicultural Center as part of Center Stage, an initiative of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


The Center Stage program is a National Endowment for the Arts (NEFA) program that allows international artists the ability to tour in America with the goal to promote cultural diplomacy and engaging in cultural understanding. Focusing on Haiti, Pakistan and Indonesia, Center Stage promotes artists that are highly regarded in their home countries, but tend to be under the radar in America.


Secor was one of the American presenters selected to go to Haiti to choose and meet with the artists.  BélO is one of few the artists chosen in 2012 to be brought to America. 


The concert will take place in the Church Street Center with two student openers, a dance performance by NEXXUS, MCLA's step team, and a song cycle by Jessica Jean-Charles '13.


 Arts management major Shannon Costello '12 said, "I am very excited for this event. It will be interesting and insightful to work with a superstar from a different country and then get the chance to see him perform live on campus!"


Born in Haiti in 1979, BélO is an author, composer, guitarist and singer, the winner of numerous awards, including the Radio France International Discoveries and Itinerant Ambassador of Haitian Music awards, and the Sacem Caribbean Award for his track, "Ti Jean," a call to send children to school to prevent them from falling into the trap of violence.


BélO is one of UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassadors in Haiti. Singing in his native language of Haitian Creole, BélO is treasured by Haitians because his songs explain and reflect the problems the country faces, Costello said.


According to Emily Troutman of the Huffington Post, "BélO has captured Bob Marley's audience, Tracy Chapman's message and Jack Johnson's laid-back beach vibe." 


Tickets to BélO are $10 for general admission. Tickets for MCLA alumni are $8, $5 for staff and faculty, and members and students are free. Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at (413) 662-5204. For more information, (413) 664-8718, or go to presents .


MCLA Presents! is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), a collaborative project with Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the City of North Adams. The BCRC provides professional development training, resources and support to the artists, art managers and creative workers of Berkshire County. Through its multiple programs and presentations, BCRC brings the best of performance and art to the Berkshires and showcases the best of the Berkshires to the world.