By AJ Wilhelm
The name Jérôme “Junior” Simeon is synonymous with the word ‘drumming’ in Haiti. After being visited by a spirit who taught him how to be a master drummer and drum builder as a child, Junior’s destiny was set in stone. He quickly climbed the ranks of the local drummers in his village until the day he was recruited by the top Haitian roots music group “Racine Mapou de Azor” and spent the next two decades touring the world and sharing his gift of music with the masses. But just when his destiny was seemingly fulfilled, the founder and lead singer of “Racine Mapou de Azor'' died unexpectedly, sending Junior’s high profile career to a shocking halt. After returning home, Junior found himself feeling isolated and irrelevant among the younger generation, most of whom have grown disinterested in the traditions and music of the past. A visit to a vibrant countryside Carnival celebration finds the streets packed with roots music lovers from colliding generations, both young and old. Despite Junior’s dwindling hope, his musical contributions to his culture, and the world as a whole, have made a deep and resounding impact. Junior’s dream is, and always was, to pass on the passion of the drum to the next generation - a dream that, unbeknownst to him, is already in full effect.
Haitian with English subtitles
Jerome "Junior" Simeon, Ajayi Jackson, Immigrés Lafond, Laurent Ansito, Jean Paul Saint Fleur