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Interview: Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo Bel and Quinn, PART II

Canadian Jazz duo Bel and Quinn
Bel is one-half of the Canadian Jazz duo known as Bel and Quinn. The Canada-born singer-songwriter and her sister-partner has wrestled with depression to become of the hottest acts on the Canadian scene. Read our exchange below!

Kreyolicious: You’re a Canadian of Haitian descent. What was it like growing up with that dual identity?
Bel: It’s something that I really treasured as an adult. When I was a teenager, this dual identity was unclear. I sometimes felt that I could not express my Haitian origins. However, when I reached adulthood, I asked myself more questions: who am I? Where do I come from? To understand who I am, I need to understand my origins, history and it’s a search that I have not completed to date. This is an important pursuit.

Kreyolicious: Which artists did you grow up admiring?
Bel: I listened to various bands such as The Beatles, The Smiths, Rolling Stones, Isley Brothers, Fugees etc. Growing up, I discovered artists who inspired me in an incredible way. I’m talking about Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and so on.
Canadian Haitian jazz duo Bel and Quinn
Kreyolicious: What made you and Quinn start the group?
Bel: Music has helped us overcome great difficulties such as illness. Without music, I can not even imagine how we would have survived. It gave us a voice. The voice we didn’t have when we were younger.

Kreyolicious: Now you are part of a group with two leading members. How do you handle creative differences?
Bel: I have to say, it works pretty well. I write lyrics and Quinn composes the music. If there are differences, we take the time to discuss them and we always manage to find common ground.

Kreyolicious: You been to Haiti yet?
Bel: Not yet, but I have to go. I want to go [this year] if possible.
Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo Bel and Quinn
Kreyolicious: When do you feel the most beautiful?
Bel: When I’m on stage, I feel beautiful and confident. Being able to sing and share my music gives me incredible strength. I’m not afraid of anything.

Kreyolicious: What’s the music scene like right now in Canada?
Bel: Right now, there are different things going on. If I talk about the jazz scene, it’s not accessible. It’s not easy. It lacks opportunities for artists of cultural diversity. By cons, there are multiple festivals. During summer, Montreal vibrates with music.
Bel and Quinn Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo
Did you miss my interview with Bel’s other half? CLICK HERE to read the interview with Quinn!

VISIT the sisters’ website| Bel and Quinn on Youtube | Bel and Quinn on Twitter

Also…

CLICK HERE to read other interviews and features with Canadians of Haitian descent!

Original author: kreyolicious
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An Interview With Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo Bel and Quinn

Bel and Quinn Canadian Haitian Jazz Duo
There is this serenity in the music of Canadian-Haitian jazz duo Bel and Quinn. Perhaps it’s because one of their influences is 1950s singer Sam Cooke. Or perhaps it’s because the pair are actual sisters, and have their sisterhood on autopilot.

The sisters are hot as winter fireplace wood on the Montreal music scene. They can be seen performing at hot spots such as Club Balattou, O Patro Vys, Casa Del Popolo, and La Marche d’à Côté. The daughters of a Haitian couple, they perform in English, French and even Haitian Creole.

Quinn is up first! Follow our conversation!

Kreyolicious: Were you exposed to Haitian music growing up?
Quinn: Yes, we were exposed to Haitian music growing up. I always liked seeing my parents dancing konpa in the living room when we were younger. If they saw us watching them dance, they would stop! It was beautiful to see. I developed a taste for Haitian music listening to Rodrigue Millien and Ansy Dérose.

Kreyolicious: A lot of teenagers find themselves withdrawing into music as a refuge. Was the case with you growing up?
Quinn: Yes. I would even say that music saved my life. Bel and I have experienced extremely difficult things and mental illness has been and is still very difficult. Music has literally saved us from these difficult times.

Kreyolicious: What’s it like working with Bel in the studio?
Quinn: Bel and I often spend time together and it is as if we communicate without saying words. Bel is very patient and at the same time very perfectionist when we’re in the studio because she wants things to be perfect! Also if I’m not sure I played a song well, she encourages me. We are a team.

Kreyolicious: Let’s say you’re working on a track. What do you do?
Quinn: We try as much as possible to take ideas from both sides. If it doesn’t work we leave the song aside and we come back on it the next day or a few days later. But Bel and I are very well connected and our ideas come together quite often.

Kreyolicious: Canada being a bilingual country…do you think that certain songs are better done in French than English and vice versa?
Quinn: I think so. Some songs are better expressed in French, English and even in Creole. Some things are better expressed in some languages. Sometimes, the feeling of a song is meant to be in a particular language so you just have to follow your inspiration and creativity.

Kreyolicious: When you’re on the stage, all eyes are on you. When do you feel the most beautiful?
Quinn: I feel beautiful when I play my guitar solos. As a jazz guitarist – jazz guitar is a man’s world – I am proud to be a jazz woman guitarist. I feel beautiful when I do solos and when I can express myself with melodic phrases.

Kreyolicious: Have you been to Haiti? What did you think?
Quinn: I have never been for different reasons but it is in my plans. Let’s hope for the best [next year].
Bel and Quinn Canadian singers
Kreyolicious: What should we expect from you next?
Quinn: We plan to record a few songs[this year] possibly in French and Creole. We’re thinking about an EP. We’ll keep playing in various venues to share our art.

This is the interview with Quinn! Be on the lookout for the interview with Bel! Stay connected with Bel and Quinn and their music!

VISIT the sisters’ website| Bel and Quinn on Facebook | Bel and Quinn on Twitter

Original author: kreyolicious
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