top of page
Christopher Ducasse


Rit Lavi a (Wind-String-Perc)
The Rhythm of Life
6:10 minutes
Ane konpozisyon
String, Woodwind & Percussion
$60.00 (Full Score and Parts)
Klasik Lakay
September 23, 2023
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin


Performance Notes

"Rit lavi a," a phrase in Haitian Creole, which can be translated to "The Rhythm of Life." This composition delves into our multifaceted journey on Earth: the highs and lows, joy and sorrow, swiftness and slowness, and the coexistence of good and bad — two facets of the same existence. The harmonious fusion of these opposing elements constitutes the essence of life, a flawlessly imperfect beauty. Our task of navigating this expedition while radiating positivity encapsulates the very heart of life, its rhythm.

This musical creation draws inspiration from two Haitian folk rhythms named "Ibo and Yanvalou.” They are both styles of drumming and dance in Haitian culture. Ibo is associated with the Ibo people, one of the ethnic groups brought to Haiti during the transatlantic slave trade. Yanvalou is one of the most essential rhythms in Haitian folklore; it is sometimes linked to "Knowledge," "Patience," "Strength," and "Healing." These rhythms are an integral part of Haitian Vodou ceremonies and other cultural and religious events. The Ibo drumming style is often used to invoke spirits and deities in Vodou rituals.

They are an essential part of the tradition and involve complex footwork and movements often accompanied by the rhythmic patterns played on the drums. The dance is used as a form of spiritual expression and is closely tied to the religious practices of the Vodou tradition. They have a rich and significant history and reflect the cultural diversity and influences that have shaped Haitian music and dance over the centuries.


Commissioned by Kevin and April Ann Sütterlin as a gift

to the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, in honor of our

friend and Army veteran Ronald "Ron" Nowacki

who passed away on August 2, 2023.

bottom of page