Haitian Independence Celebrated at Tchaka Fest in Woodbourne

Sendie Dorcelly of Mattapan. Whitney Brice of Mattapn and Rachel St Fleurose of Roslindale

Sendie Dorcelly and Whitney Brice of Mattapan and Rachel St. Fleurose of Roslindale enjoy the Tchaka Festival on Memorial Day 2015. Credit: Richard Heath.

A week after their grand Independence Day parade down Blue Hill Avenue, the Haitian community  gathered in the hundreds at Jamaica Plain’s Pagel Playground in the Woodbourne neighborhood for the third annual Tchaka Fest on Memorial Day.

Organized in part by Bel Mizik FM, the Haitian radio station out of Hyde Park (91.3 FM), family and friends flocked from Salem, Lynn, Everett, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Dorchester to hear DJs blast out the latest sounds, compete in soccer matches, sack races and even play musical chairs.

MC Babbi shouted out 1804! Where is the ZERO?

The 1804 nation tent. MC Babbi shouted out, “1804!! Where is the ZERO??”

Musical Chairs at TChaka Fest. Heavy competition among the youth set.

Richard Heath

Musical Chairs at TChaka Fest. Heavy competition among the youth set.

Two guys want to play football.. their buddy just wants to boogie

Richard Heath

Two guys want to play football.. their buddy just wants to boogie

DJ Hype Styles at the DJ competition. He got a very high 23 points.

Richard Heath

DJ Hype Styles at the DJ competition. He got a very high 23 points.

Darlene and Dominique of Dorchester   on the grilling up Griyo ( fried pork) and Fritay ( chicken)

Richard Heath

Darlene and Dominique ( l ) of Dorchester grilling up Griyo ( fried pork) and Fritay ( chicken)  The afternoon was filled with  friends and family who flocked from Lynn, Everett. Milton. Hyde Park. Mattapan and Dorchester to catch the latest sounds from the DJ/s, and compete in soccer, sack races and even musical chairs.. and did we mention the food..? Piled high on the plates  hot off the grille.

Mc Babbi with DJ  SL "This is for you beautiful Haitians!!"

Shy Paul from Lynn and Bianca Silencieux (r) at their 1894 Nation tent "The date is very important"

Richard Heath

Shy Paul from Lynn and Bianca Silencieux (r) at their 1804 Nation tent. “The date is very important.”

Businesswoman Bianca Silencieux from Salem was there with her custom made “1804 Nation” t-shirts  and jewelry. 1804 is the year of Haitian Independence.

“It represented something very big for me,” she said. “The date is so powerful. It was the first black nation to gain independence.”

She designed the t-shirts with clenched hands as a symbol of unity and strength.

For MC DJ Babbi from Milton, Tchaka Fest was about pride: “This is for all you beautiful Haitians!”

Kevin from Hyde Park, a drummer and musician, was attending his first Tchaka Fest.

“I’ve always been playing on the road” on Memorial Day, he said.

Kevin was one of the four judges who rated the fierce DJ competition, one of the highlights of the afternoon event.