Bringing Kreyòl music and digital poetry to MIT

CAST Visiting Artist BIC is a singer, songwriter and poet visiting MIT in April 2019. BIC began working with Nick Montfort, Professor of Digital Media, and Michel DeGraff, Professor of Linguistics, in fall 2017 to create digital literary art in Kreyòl. They used “Sentaniz,” a well-known story written by Haitian writer Maurice Sixto, as the storytelling basis for BIC’s digital work entitled, Sentaniz Nimerik.

The cross-pollination of Kreyòl linguistics, poetry, computer science and music will continue at MIT for one week in April 2019. As part of MIT Sounding, BIC  performs his work in collaboration with musicians, dancers and performers from MIT and the greater Cambridge area. BIC’s residency includes workshops with faculty and students around Kreyòl digital poetry and music making. The residency aims to facilitate opportunities for both the MIT campus and the broader Haitian community in and around Boston to experience new cultural expressions of digital poetry and music making in Kreyòl.

The 2018-19 MIT Sounding Series is presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) and MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Songwriter, rapper-slammer BIC (Roosevelt Saillant) is a singer who uses the art of rhyme and navigates both poetic melodies and intense rhythms to create a successful synthesis between rap and folk. A recognized lyricist in Hatitian Kreyòl, his songs and writing are now studied in Haitian universities.

Coming to music via hip hop, BIC made his stage debut in 2000 with the band Flex. He then founded, with his fellow countryman John Mogene, the group BIC (for Brain-Intelligence-Creativity), with which he produced two albums: Wow (2005) and Farther (2008). In 2010, he began a solo career, keeping the name of BIC and performing under his new label Tizon Dife Recordz.

BIC has established himself as one of the essential artists of the Haitian music scene, performing regularly on North American stages. Winner of the 2014 Visas program for the creation of the Institut français, BIC was in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris for three months, during which he finalized his fifth album Recto-Verso. BIC participated in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the MaMA, and performed in Armenia as part of the 31st Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie.

BIC released his latest album VOKABI-LARI on May 18, 2016 after a national tour. Before performing in Boston in 2017, he collaborated with MIT’s Nick Montfort and Michel DeGraff on a project exploring the connections that can be woven with music and poetry. This was followed by a performance on the stage of the World Music African Art Festival (WOMAAF) in Tangier, Morocco.

Since October 2017, BIC has been a Handicap International Ambassador for a major awareness campaign on road safety.

Upcoming Events

Residency Visit
April 1–8, 2019

Michel DeGraff, Professor, Linguistics, MIT

Nick Montfort, Professor of Digital Media, Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W), MIT

Patricia Tang, Associate Professor of World Music, Music and Theater Arts, MIT

BIC. Courtesy of the artist.
BIC. Courtesy of the artist.

Selected Past Projects