NERO’s Joseph Ray responds to Trump’s remarks on Haiti

During a meeting at the Oval Office on Thursday, President
Trump singled out a number of countries which he referred to as
“shitholes” when discussing a bipartisan immigration deal. The
countries to which Trump was referring included El Salvador,
parts of Africa and in particular Haiti – a country the
president singled out after saying: “Why do we need more
Haitians? Take them out”.

Following these inflammatory remarks, Grammy award-winning
producer and Oxford University graduate Jospeh Ray from NERO has exclusively shared
with Mixmag a number of his personal experiences from
his time living Haiti, discussing his close connection to the
country’s culture, its people and the music they make.

Ray was first exposed to Haitian culture when visiting a friend
years ago, discovering a music engineering school called the
in Jacmel, a town located on the south coast of
the country.

“I immediately fell in love with the place,” says Ray when
reminiscing on his first experience of the country.

“I ended up spending nearly six months there. After going back
to the school to do a bit of production teaching, I met a band
called Lakou Mizik…The richness of Haitian music
is incredible… from the Voodoo chants of West Africa, to
French-laced twoubadou, to carnival Rara music.”

Captivated, Joseph Ray and Lakou Mizik began working on a
collaborative project with the purpose of reimagining centuries
old songs from Haiti. This month, Ray will be returning to
Haiti to continue working on the musical and visual components
of his endeavor with the band and plans to reveal the project
sometime this year.

Ray continues: “Spending time in Haiti and digging into the
music has truly opened my mind. The poverty in Haiti is
obviously widespread and profound, and probably what most
people think of when they hear the country’s name, but by only
focusing only on that, you end up leaving out most of the
picture. I’ve traveled the world with Nero, but the place I’ve
gone back to most is Haiti. Beautiful, alive, complicated,
mystical,’s all of that. One thing it isn’t, is a