Haitian konpa legends headline free Tropical Nights concert

Widler "Wid" Octavius is a singer song-writer with the legendary Haitian konpa band Zenglen. The band is celebrating its 28th anniversary this year.

Haitian music legend Zenglen and 5Lan, a band quickly rising to the forefront with its own dirty-dancing or Gouyadville musical style, will both be playing their own brand of Haitian konpa at Moca Plaza this Friday. They will be joined by the exuberant Carnival street band Rara Lakay.

Known as Tropical Nights, the monthly showcase featuring local bands is a free event that draws a diverse crowd.  

“Tropical Nights is such a great experience,” said Nadia “Brwnsuga” Bowen, a local TV personality on Comcast’s Island TV, who is hosting the event. “It’s a free event, and it gets families out.”

Jean Edouard “Frero” Jean-Baptiste is one of the lead singers with the Haitian konpa band, Zenglen. The band recently released a new single and is celebrating 28 years in the Haitian music industry.

Bowen, who is also multilingual and fluent in Creole, Spanish as well as English, said in addition to the local food vendors, and arts and crafts reflecting North Miami’s diversity, she gets “to cater to the Haitian, Latin and Caribbean community in general and speak all of their languages.”

While similar to Miami’s Sounds of Little Haiti at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, Tropical Nights doesn’t just feature Haitian acts. Also performing on Friday is Jamaican artist Fabi.

“Tropical Nights is an international show,” said Sandy Dorsainvil, the event’s producer whose goal is to bring Haitian culture to every South Florida city.

Zenglen is celebrating their 28th anniversary with the release of “Zenglen Mania,” their latest album which marks the return of keyboardist Daniel Eugene, plus new additions Esdras Edouard and Joachim Barthelemy. Says Zenglen’s new Marketing and Communications Director Chenet Nerette in a statement, “Zenglen is a staple in the Haitian music industry. They have hardcore fans who expect only the best from them, this is why they have revamped the group, reconfigured their team and have added focus on marketing and branding.” 

Zenglen Mania, a celebration of 28 years of Haitian konpa.

Meanwhile, DJ 5Etwal and his band 5Lan continue to win over fans with their innovative konpa.  In December, the group announced a major coup by adding musician Carlo Vieux to its line up. Vieux was one-third of one of the hottest bands in the Haitian music industry, Carimi, until it unexpectedly broke up last year.

“Carlo’s talent will bring significant success to the 5Lan movement in both production and live performances,” the band’s management, Belizaire Music Group, said at the time. 


What: Tropical Nights

When: 6-11 p.m. Friday

Where: Moca Plaza, 770 NE 125th St.

Cost: Free