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Haitian Compas Music Festival Opens For 20th Year

As much as Afro-Cuban rhythms are a part of Miami's musical heritage, so is Haitian Compas music. The genre is credited to 1950s saxophonist Nemours Jean-Baptiste, who incorporated brass into a wide range of Caribbean rhythms.

The Haitian Compas Festival has been celebrating the genre for 20 years. The opening ceremony for this year's festival was held at the Adrienne Arsht Center Thursday, featuring remarks by the Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. Paul Altidor and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, followed by performances by Compas bands including the festival's headliner, Harmonik.

Evrose Noel, the administrative director of the Haitian Compas Festival, said the festival is an inclusive platform for Haitian culture.

“Most of the time that the musicians and the bands play ... the kids and the family are never really involved, so the Haitian Compas Festival is an opportunity for the entire family to be involved," she said. "Not just the music -- the culture, food, and everything that is Haitian.”

The main festival will be Saturday at the Mana Wynwood Convention Center.