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Political Unrest in Haiti, New World Symphony Gala, Magic City Hippies

Magic City Hippies performing at the Bonaroo Music Festival in 2019
Yvonne Gougelet
Magic City Hippies performing at the Bonaroo Music Festival in 2019

The Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles provided an update on the ongoing political unrest in Haiti, as thousands are calling for President Jovenel Moïse to step down. Plus, the 34th annual New World Symphony gala will be entirely virtual this year with the theme of resilience. And Live from the 305 presents Miami's indie rock darlings Magic City Hippies.

On this Thursday, Feb. 18 episode of Sundial:

Questions on Haitian President's Term

There’s an ongoing standoff between Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse and his opposition. Moïse says his term doesn’t end until next year and thousands are protesting against the regime, arguing his five-year term has expired and he should have left office earlier this month.

WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Local journalists are working hard to keep you informed on the latest developments across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.

We spoke with the Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles, who has been covering the story.

“The root of this crisis is in the 2015 elections. President Michel Martelly left office a year later without a successor, since the elections that were held in October of 2015 were marred by fraud allegations and civil unrest. As a result, the elections had to be done over again. That took basically 14 months. During that time, there was an interim provisional president who was in office,” Charles said.

President Moïse says the Haiti Constitution gives him five years in office, which began in 2017. But, the Constitution also says the five-year term begins when the previous president steps down.

“We're looking at a constitutional crisis, but it really is about a larger political crisis in Haiti governance and the question of who’s in charge,” Charles said.

Moïse has accused his opponents of planning a violent coup, which they deny. This has led to arrests, protests and violence.

New World Symphony Gala

For 34 years, New World Symphony has trained musicians from around the globe and become a premier arts institution in the United States.

Dozens of fellows train under the guidance of artistic director and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who was recently given the Kennedy Center Honors for Lifetime Achievement.

The New World Symphony was forced to adapt this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, shifting in-person learning to virtual settings.

WLRN’s editorial director Alicia Zuckerman spoke with Thomas and Judith Rodin, a NWS board member and chair of the gala, last week.

“We’d gather 12 or 14 fellows at a time on a Zoom call and have everybody kind of compare the way that they played various passages, and get helpful hints about musical and technical ideas. So everyone has applied themself in very ingenious ways to keep as much spontaneous and progressive contact between us online,” Thomas said.

On Saturday, the symphony's annual gala will be entirely virtual, and feature performances from artists like cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Gil Shaham. The theme of the gala is resilience, something Rodin knows all too well.

As the first female president of an Ivy League school — the University of Pennsylvania — and the former president of the Rockefeller Foundation, she’s dedicated her career to ensuring organizations can evolve and overcome challenges.

“We began to understand that in the 21st century, it may be that crisis is the new normal. Often when we're in crisis, we say, 'Oh, I wish things would just get back to normal.' But normal, in fact, may have components within it that made you more vulnerable to the effects of the crisis in the first place,” Rodin said.

Magic City Hippies

Magic City Hippies are on a mission to get people up and dancing. Their indie-pop style and groovy rhythms have garnered them international popularity, playing major festivals from Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo.

We spoke with band members Robby Hunter, John Coughlin and Pat Howard about the evolution of the group as part of our series Live from the 305, which looks at South Florida-based musical artists.

“It's [our concerts] are a house party. It's a full on party. It feels very personal. It's just everybody's having fun on stage. It's infectious, you know, and we wanted to bring that to every show all around the country,” Hunter said.

Last year they released their first full-length album, Modern Animal. You can check out all of our Live from the 305 performances here.

Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Alicia Zuckerman is Editorial Director at WLRN, where she edits narrative and investigative audio journalism. In 2020, she was named Editor of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists Florida chapter.