Mardi Gras is still over a week away, but Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne and Win Butler are already encouraging people to celebrate.
Chassagne and Butler recently dropped “Ann Ale!,” a raucous, horn-filled party song recorded in collaboration with New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Haitian rock group RAM. “Ann Ale!,” which roughly translates to “Let’s Go!” in Haitian Creole, is the unofficial theme song of the first annual Krewe du Kanaval event, a one-day New Orleans festival that marks the period leading up to Mardi Gras.
Butler, Chassagne, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and RAM will all perform at the festival, which kicks off tomorrow afternoon and will continue well into the evening. Proceeds from Krewe du Kanaval ticket sales will go to the Preservation Hall Foundation as well as KANPE, a non-profit organization that Chassagne co-founded in 2010.
Apart from founding KANPE, which strives to support financially struggling Haitian families, Chassagne has helped support the New Orleans and Haitian communities for several years. In January 2016, she and Butler organized a New Orleans procession to commemorate the life of late singer David Bowie. And since 2004, Arcade Fire has donated a percentage of proceeds made from selected tour and ticket sales to the people of Haiti.
Arcade Fire has also tried to honour the residents of New Orleans and Haiti by doing what they do best—making music. The band released a song called “Haiti” in 2004 and filmed their “Electric Blue” music video in New Orleans, just as last year’s Mardi Gras celebration was coming to an end.
Though Arcade Fire got its start in Montreal, Butler and Chassagne (who is of Haitian descent herself) moved to New Orleans around three years ago. And based on Chassagne’s ongoing work with KANPE as well as her well-documented desire to bring the Haitian and New Orleans communities together, we’re sure that Krewe du Kanaval will be a success and only continue to get better and better.
Listen to “Ann Ale!” in full below.