Summer Solstice Masquerade

What better way to kick off the season than at Les Couleurs “Summer Solstice Masquerade”. The event took place on Saturday, June 17th on the Lower East Side at Sound Lab, Chrystie Street. Over two hundred glamorously attired attendees, many mysteriously masked, paused for a photo op then meandered through the venue's three rooms.

Drinks flowed freely at the two bars thanks to Russian Standard, Forever Young Wine, and Frerejean Freres champagne, the main sponsors of the event.

Miss New York 2013 and Miss Nigeria USA 2015 hosted alongside model Kira Dikhtyar, Alisa Baksheeva and Victoria Secret model, - Alicia Hall. Guest of honor at the event, political activist and writer Jim St. Germain signed and gifted his newly published book "A Stone of Hope"as one of the auction prizes. 

Founder/CEO of Les Couleurs Charity Aura Copeland with Jim St. Germain

Founder/CEO of Les Couleurs Charity Aura Copeland with Jim St. Germain

Amongst some very special guests one could spot Swing World Champion Robert Royston and a well known to New Yorkers, plastic surgeon Pamela Lipkin, who shared some of the most memorable work experiences with the reporter from Page Six.

Opera singer Veronica Iovan, a regular at Les Couleurs events, gave another impressive performance before the DJ Baltell cranked up the tunes for the crowd ready to dance.

Les Couleurs Charity team is extremely proud that the proceeds from this event will allow to augment arts education program CREATE. It will now include dance and music classes for the 300 children already enrolled at fifteen Port-au-Prince orphanages.

We are so grateful for all our generous supporters and look forward to sharing stories of joy and inspiration from our kids in Haiti, created by this much needed and exciting program expansion.

Tracy Inokon

Jay Watts with Les Couleurs

1. Tell us about your childhood: where were you born, who did you look up to growing up, what did you enjoy doing the most?

I was born in Penns Grove, NJ. It's a very small rural town with culture influenced by Pennsylvania and Delaware. Growing up I looked up to my parents, my older sister Tamara, and anyone in the neighborhood who created opportunities for the kids. Every day after school, I would go home and record songs using Magic Music Maker for hours and then go to my friend Dj Mea5z’ house to play them on his speakers. I enjoyed moments like that the most. I also was in love with basketball at that time and played for the AAU traveling team. I really enjoyed being able to travel to different states throughout the country and play against some of the best talent. It was a great experience.

 

2. What is your best childhood memory?

My best childhood memory was my mother’s surprise 40th birthday party. It was the best feeling in the world to see my mother so happy. My entire family came to our house that night and we had a blast. My friend and I performed one of my songs for the family that night and the amount of love they showed us made me believe in myself as an artist moving forward.

3. When did you discover your passion for music?

My parents used to have occasional family gatherings which always included karaoke hour. Watching my relatives enjoying themselves singing and dancing made me feel like I should give it a try. One day I decided to take both karaoke machines and make a tape. I used one machine to beatbox on, then I recorded over the beatbox on the other karaoke and made a complete song. During that time I fell in love with creating my own music.

4. What artist you find most inspirational and why?

I have always been inspired by the artists who’ve had a major impact on society on and off the stage. Artists who have spoken out against  certain cruelties in the world are the ones I look up to the most. Artists like John Lenonn, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Prince just to name a few. These artists are the reason I strive to be great and once my voice is heard by the world I will also be one of those artists who stands for the people and society moving forward.

5. What role music plays in your life?

Music is my life. Ever since I signed with Lava/Republic Records last year i literally eat, sleep, and breathe music.

6. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you work from life or from imagination?

My inspiration comes from all aspects of life. Any conversation you have with someone may trigger a song idea. For example some of the lyrics in “My Dreams” were inspired by a conversation we had about the Bible and Jesus. So there are a lot of Bible references in that song. I was speeding while driving in my car on my way from class to the studio once. I got in the left lane and started singing “Speeding, dodging all these demons, cruising in the left lane”... The moment I arrived at the studio we created production around those lyrics and finished the song.

7. What moves you most in life?

Gaining knowledge.

8. Where do you do your work?

I record all of my music at my production company’s studio in Little Falls Nj. I have been recording here for about two years now.

9. What is the role of the artist in society?

I feel like every artist has their own individual role in society. Im here to inspire, enlighten, and push the culture forward. Stereotypes are influenced by ignorance which is why I will forever advise my fans to have a diverse group of friends. Having a diverse group of friends in your life helps you become more understanding of others and more accepting to different walks of life.. Spread the Love

10. Do you think it’s important for a child to have an opportunity to express himself/herself through arts and creativity, why?

Yes, I believe it's very important for children to have opportunities to express themselves through arts and creativity because it builds self confidence, expands their imagination, and allows them to bring their thoughts to life which can take them far.

11. Can you tell us about your last album or a song?

One of my favorite songs on my sound cloud is “DNA” Demons and Angels. There was a point in my life where I started to doubt myself and  was letting the negative thoughts overpower the positive so I decided to talk about that in DNA. The song motivates my listeners to stay focus through it all.

White Blue and What's Next?

Dear Friends of Les Couleurs Charity, 

Hope you are enjoying the remaining days of summer! 

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our friend and wonderful supporter of the charity - Steven Kemler, we held another beautiful summer event, White & Blue, this time on a rooftop overlooking the NoHo part of Manhattan.  With your growing support, the impact we are all making on the arts education program is also growing and thus we are brightening the days of even more children in Haiti! 

With that in mind, we are also expanding our team and preparing the 2nd year of the Create curriculum. Let's not lose this wonderful momentum and please join us at our Seminar and Panel Discussion on Haiti in September. More details about the upcoming event shall follow soon! 

Eternally grateful for your support, 

Les Couleurs Team 

Meet Ogun,- one of the greatest Haitian musicians.

1. Tell us about your childhood: where were you born, who did you look up to growing up, what did you enjoy doing the most?

My childhood was filled with art from my dad's side. He is a painter, as well as my uncles and cousins who are musicians. Growing up I always looked up to Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Usher, 2Pac and many others. I really enjoy making music, it brings me to life.

2. When did you discover you passion for music?

I was about 13 years old.

3. What artist do you find most inspirational and why?

Bob Marley, his music is soul soothing.

4. What role music plays in your life?

Music is all my life.

5. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get inspired by what i see daily and what i go through in life. I can say i work off both.

6. What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you? 

My goals. 

7. Where do you do your work?

 I own a studio and a label called Ogunation Records & Studios and i also have different business ventures such as a club and a cargo company.

9. What is the role of the artist in society?

To bring positivity to the people.

10. Do you think it’s important for a child to have an opportunity to express himself through arts and creativity, why?

Yes, I think every child should do arts if he/she has an opportunity, because we are surrounded by art our world is made of art. It's uplifting and inspiring.

11. Can you tell us about your last album or a song?

My last album is coming out in July this year and my latest single is in it. It's titled Cherie Madorew.

Interview with DJ Baltell

DJ BALTELL

DJ BALTELL

Les Couleurs Charity: Benoit, tell us more about where you're from, when and what brought you to NY?

I'm French, grew up in Paris,  lived in Germany for three years and eventually bought a one way ticket for Buenos Aires back in 2009. I backpacked for a year across South America. While in Ecuador, I supported for three months a local non-for profit organization developing the Fair Trade of rice and Cocoa beans. End of 2010, I decided to move to New York. From the plane, my first glimpse of New York was a beautiful sunset illuminating the skyline and the statue of liberty. I immediately fell in love with the city, his architecture, culture and musical scene.

Les Couleurs Charity:  When did you discover your passion for music? How important music was for you growing up? Who did you look up to when you were a child?

Growing up in Paris, I started playing the transverse flute at age 7 and later joined an orchestra in Germany. I developed my interest for electronic music when I realized the great impact and freedom that come with using technology in the creative process of composing. One of my favorite thing about DJing is fully connecting with the people and giving them a great night.

The main musicians I was looking up as a child were Renaud (well known French singer, probably only famous in France), Ennio Morricone (composed the soundtracks of many movies, Once upon the time in the West being one of them) as well as John Williams.

Les Couleurs Charity: How did you start DJ'ing in NY? What do you love most about the music scene here?

I started DJ'ing in various venues in NY and partnered with the group Sam n' Jo to organize wonderful events. I had the chance to play in distinguished venues, such as Gold Bar, Le Baron, Beaumarchais, Pink Elephant.

I like the diversity of New-York's music scene, all genres coexist, experiment, merge and sometimes give birth to new genres.

 

Les Couleurs Charity: How important do you think music and creativity are for a child?

Creativity shapes one's identity and powers new opportunities; music offers a fantastic framework for this educational process, along side with all other forms of art.

Les Couleurs Charity: What does it mean to you being able to support the work LC is doing in Haiti and why do you think it's important?

Education is one of the main pillar for sustainable development; it drives long-term and impactful changes to the world. This is exactly what Les Couleurs Charity is doing in Haiti, and I am proud of contributing to this greater purpose.

baltell.com   http://soundcloud.com/baltell   http://www.facebook.com/djbaltell

Interview with Haitian artist JN Felix

Les Couleurs Charity: Lesny, tell us more about your childhood in Haiti, when and how did you come to NY?

I came to New York when I was 12. Lived through the overthrow of the Baby Doc regime. I don't remember much except the games we would play, such as like hide an seek and some others. I also loved the story telling by my late Grandmother, New Years Eve traditions, remember loving traditional pumpkin soup.

Les Couleurs Charity: How important for you was art and creativity  growing up?
Art wasn't part of my life till 2005, i even dropped that class in High School.

Les Couleurs Charity: When did you discover your passion for arts?

Well, I would say in 2009-2010, that's when i became really motivated and highly driven, just passion isn't enough -  because is comes and goes. Just like a relationship between the two people, passion doesn't seem to stick around. However your drive, focus and motivation,- does.

Les Couleurs Charity: Where do you normally draw your inspiration from?

 I don't use such ideology, but if I have to answer this it more about individuality of each important artist from the past, as well as contemporary ones. Having my own signature works of art, developing  many different series or styles of work. I am thinking of 7 or 8 different series that are of a different style.

Les Couleurs Charity: How does Haitian art and culture inspire you?

It really had no influence on me because I wasn't exposed to it growing up, and it's just something I came across due to my relationship with my mentor.

Les Couleurs Charity: What artists do you look up to? 

Many... if it's original and unique, then I pay attention, but right now, I don't need anything to fire me up to just paint paintings.

A collaboration with Rick Wray, Dr. Untitled

A collaboration with Rick Wray, Dr. Untitled

Les Couleurs Charity: What Haitian artists do you look up to?

Don't look up to any of them and I really don't look at things like that because if I were to, then perhaps i would struggle finding my own signature style. However, the art i saw in the beginning sort of worked its way into my doings, but it phased out once I developed my own liking.

Les Couleurs Charity: How important for you is to support LC Charity?

Well, the fact that Haiti is their primary focus and a sense of contributing is like nothing else.  As they say "here to give back" given that is indeed the least i can do at the moment.

Les Couleurs Charity: What does it mean for a child to be able to express himself through arts?

Fun, joy and happiness! You have to understand that it's almost like a self therapy, so imagine how important for a youngster this experience might be. Getting lost without worrying about anything, so that feeling sort of takes them away from all the disturbing surroundings and circumstances.

JN Felix