Unveiling Truths, Connecting Communities

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Is Haitian Artist Clinton Benoit on a Musical Diplomacy Mission by Mixing Heavy Metal Guitar with Merengue The Dominican Music?

Clinton Benoit
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Background to the border dispute

At the very beginning, the Haitians and Dominican Republic were seen as one entity occupying Hispanola Island. But not until 1844, when the Dominican republic forcefully gained their independence from Haitian Rule, in what is referred to in history as the Dominican War of independence. Following this, there were a series of attempted invasions by the Haitian soldiers to regain control which led to fights between the two republics. These invasions were, however, unsuccessful as the Dominicans were victorious in every battle. Since then, Dominican-Haitian relations have been rather shaky.

Nevertheless, there is some cross-border collaboration in sectors like infrastructure, business, and health. Many Haitians relocate to the Dominican Republic in search of seasonal or permanent employment so they may send money home to their families. Even while it provides economic advantages, this alone has heightened friction between the two nations.

Therefore, there is a recognized border dispute between the two nations that call Hispaniola Island home.

Clinton Benoit, however, via his music, is repairing broken ties and fostering cross-border encounters between the two nations. It has long been recognized that music is a language shared by all races and ethnicities that unites people from different nations, erasing barriers and urging them to learn about one another’s cultures. With the release of his new single, “La Vida No Es Complicada,” which translates to “Life is not difficult,” Benoit is preaching the language of togetherness via his music. He preaches the fleeting aspect of life as an incentive to keep things simple in his most recent song.

The 49-year-old Haitian artist was born in the city of Jacmel, which serves as a border town between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In a tangential way, it could be argued that Clinton’s history as a native of Jacmel, Haiti, predestined him to serve in this capacity as a peace advocate. His experience with the rich and varied Caribbean music cultures that have influenced him to become the musician that he is, as well as his ancestry, served as the inspiration for his songs. When faced with a challenge to learn something new or to explore new musical collaborations, Clinton loves to explore and never backs down. This is reflected in his latest single, La Vida No Es Complicada, a brilliant fusion of heavy metal guitar and the indigenous merengue music of the Dominican Republic. Merengue music of the Dominican Republic is a lively, upbeat and fast-tempo musical genre, while heavy metal guitar takes its roots in the early 70s in Great Britain.

Together, the Haitian singer and an oddball group of Dominican musicians gave Dominican music some flavor. The new song has been favorably received in both the Dominican and Haitian communities since its debut.

By working with Dominican musicians to create a new merengue sound for his new track, which has the potential to alleviate tensions between the two countries, Clinton did a remarkable job with his new song and made the right decision. Clinton Benoit claims that the atmosphere between the two collaborators in the studio is usually enjoyable. In his words, “We play beautiful music, not shady politics, as musicians.”

As regards activism, this is not Clinton Benoit’s first rodeo. It is gathered that Clinton Benoit is lending a hand by being an ambassador for Association Fanm Kore Fanm (AFKF), a non-profit organization in Haiti and in the US that provides social services to women. During the epidemic, it was said that Clinton had gathered a group of prominent artists, actresses, radio hosts, activists, designers, and vocalists to create a public service announcement encouraging people to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus.

About Clinton

Clinton Benoit was born on July 20, 1973. He is a musician, producer, singer, police officer, and social worker known for his innovative and boundary-pushing approach to music. He first gained recognition with his 2010 album Funky Konpa, a blend of rock and Kompas direct. Now, he is pushing heavy metal guitar on Dominican music to calm down the rhetoric and animosity between the two nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.


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