Interview with DJ Gardy Girault

It's 2pm on a Friday afternoon, at a quiet campground. My classmates and teachers are lounging by the Rogue River in Southern Oregon after a long morning of harvesting medicinal plants. The sun is bright, the river is flowing, the birds are chirping, and the trees, flowers, and grass are moving to the tune of an invisible force; the beat of the wind. I ask myself, "How is it that nature is grooving right no, but we are not? ". We are tired, but we are craving something to revitalize us. I decide that it's time to play some music, so I ask my friend for his car keys because, after all we are in the mountains and have no electricity to plug in speakers or other modern devices. I press play.

I start streaming Wake me Up Rara Tech Remix by Gardy Girault on my iPhone.  As I walk away from the car, I immediately start dancing, hands in the air, walking towards the foot of the river. At first I am the only one dancing to the sounds, and that is ok with me. But, within approximately 1 minute, several others start moving their bodies too, subtly, in a uniform groove. Yes, including my professors. "What is this?!", their facial expressions ask. By the 2nd minute of the song, people get out of the river. They set their books aside, they come out of their tents, and form a sea of moving, grooving, jiving bodies, electrified and unified by the Rara tech sounds. They are exhilarated by the sounds of Haiti. By the time the song ends, it is clear that the crowd is quite literally hungry for more. My classmates scream "More, more!". Something in their spirits awoken. It was my pleasure to oblige this request.

Man, music is such a beautiful thing. Who would've guessed that Haitian Rara tech would reach the wilderness of deep southern Oregon, which lies in the western most state of the U.S, thousands of miles from the place of its origin. This is the effect of Gardy's music. It touches people. It transcends boundaries. It awakens us. It makes us move.


Meet DJ Sabine Blaizin!

Meet a woman who knows how to make people dance. DJ Sabine Blaizin is a talented Brooklyn-based DJ, who blends the sounds of the diaspora, lifts our collective spirit, and inspires us to move. Sabine has played a big role in Haiti Cultural Exchange's Selebrasyon!, and will be one of the featured DJ's at the festival's closing party this Saturday, along with DJ Gardy Girault. I'm grateful to have had to opportunity to interview DJ Sabine and chat about the inspiration behind her sound, the healing power of music, and her social justice and service endeavors through Lakay se Lakay.

Check out the interview below!

How did you get into DJing?

Around 1999, I was an avid club goer (house & underground hip-hop music venues) and started collecting vinyl of some of the rare songs I would hear from my favorite Djs/Producers. My favorite spot was a record store called Dance Tracks in the Lower East Side, NY. It was a haven for dance music aficionados. I would spend hrs after school/work and on weekends listening to tracks and connecting with various DJ's/Producers who would come through. A close Dj friend said I had a good ear while playing vinyl at his house & slowly but surely I started playing out at basement parties and had a good reaction from fellow dancers/house-heads. Later, we started a party called Brooklyn Mecca in 2006...Brooklyn Mecca: Home of Grassroots Dance Culture.
Carlos Bell Photography
I haven't seen you spin in person, but from listening to your dope music and watching some video performances, I can clearly see the joy radiating from your being, when you perform. It looks as if you are connecting with a deep part of yourself, but also connecting with the collective vibe of the people. Talk to me about the joy of making people dance.

I started out as a dancer before DJing...various styles like house, hip-hop, capoeira, african, Haitian, etc...that sensibility to dance translated into my sets...playing music that would move ones spirit as well as my own.


Meet Shakespeare Guirand

I have love for the person who refers to Haiti as "The Kingdom of Haiti", because surely that's what it is. If not in a purely physical sense, then in an energetic and spiritual way.

Allow me to introduce you to Shakespeare Guirand, a lovably quirky fellow and brilliant Haitian artist, residing in Brooklyn, NY.

As a former intern with Haiti Cultural Exchange, I'd see Shakespeare at most of our events with his beautiful smile and glowing energy. Surprisingly, we never actually met. I don't know how we missed each other. It wasn't until I saw his name on the Selebrasyon! calendar that I found out that this magical person is an artist. A prince too, from the kingdom of Haiti.

feel him when I look at his art. His art is free, colorful, spiritual. It has incredible depth, movement, and symbolism.

You can hang out with Shakespeare at HCX's Open Studio Tours event.
Sunday, June 8, 1-5pm
36 Troy Ave. Brooklyn NY

Below, I will showcase some of his work along with excerpts from his Artist Statement.

I am a contemporary visionary artist living in an urban explosion of overlapping cultures, rhythms and spiritual forces.  
My work has evolved to communicate my emotions, my spirituality, and my vision and examines the values, issues, and experiences I cherish, including; joy, melancholy, risk, freedom, spirituality and personal evolution. 

As a young prince growing up, a sense of holiness blew over my mind.
I always felt with wonder the energies and elements that surround us, so alive in this mystical island.  
My work is Abstract, spiritual, and sensual.
I use color as a mean of therapy.
I continue to learn from my art work as my work is a mean of researching the past, the present and moving into the future.
Not a Coincidence

"As a mysticism artist, most of my creations relate to events, which occur at the actual moment, what we might consider the “Present”. “Not a Coincidence” is a piece which can lead our mind deep into the mystical, social, political and the “de-humanization” of our actual society!"
Stay engaged,


Naikainbalance on Instagram

I realize I never announced my Instagram page. I can't express to you how much I love Instagram. I love that it encourages individual expression through photography. Literally, anyone can transform into a top tier photographer, by sharing what they find beautiful. With the quick click of a finger, an artsy filter, and a hunch for creative hashtags, you are an instant Instagrammer. Oh the possibilities! On Instagram, I document visual inspiration, yummy food, encounters with nature, beautiful travels, fun times with loved ones and of course the occasional selfie

I've just recently kind of realized the discrepancy of my online presence (lol). I tend to only post big life updates on Facebook maybe once a month, inspirational quotes and special thoughts on Twitter daily, my literary side on Blogger when I'm inspired, and more of an artistic and unique side on Instagram daily.

It is really important to me that I work on merging the 4 together...so that's something I will explore!

Here are some of my favorite Instagram pics :)

Feel free to follow me if you're inspired @Naikainbalance

Horses, Germany

Mexican restaurant, Mission, San Francisco

Table decor, California

Hike, Seattle

Kings of Leon Concert, Seattle

Halo, Seattle
Slave to Music (a piece by Haitian artist Oberjot), Haiti

Aurora Bridge, Seattle

DIY Thyme, My Apartment

Blow out, Seattle

Patterns, Seattle

Exploring Lush Lands, Forks Washington

El Anatsui, Seattle Art Museum

Jalousie, Haiti

Chihuly Exhibit, Seattle

Plush, North Bend Washington

Gary Clark Junior Live, Seattle

Black and Gold, New York

Alvin Ailey, Seattle

Stay Engaged,