Award Recipients - 2004


Oneza Lafontant, Founder

Kongo is dedicated to promoting a better understanding of Afro-Haitian music, culture and history and believes that the artist’s role is to bring people together to make positive change.  The group encourages community and social consciousness, conducts educational workshops, performs at a range of venues, and participates in organizing campaigns.  Kongo -the name of the Africans tribe brought to Haiti- offers a blend of acappella interspersed with percussion and acoustic accents, which remain true to its African roots.

Formed in 1995, Kongo’s main purpose is education--teaching traditional Haitian rhythms, songs and dance in schools, daycare centers and cultural institutions.  Programs allow participants to explore the music of Haitian culture, learn basic history behind the instruments and their use dating back to pre-slavery times.  Kongo teaches that the drums work together to communicate and encourages collective efforts among young people to achieve their dreams.

Kongo also supports social change campaigns through performances and participation in protests and fundraisers.  Members work side-by-side with community organizations to disseminate information about social issues in a cultural and artistic way as well as directly in organizing campaigns.  Other activities include visits to Haitian detainees in New York and Philadelphia.


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