Papa Jube should promote Haitian Music in a positive way...

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Guysanto
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Papa Jube should promote Haitian Music in a positive way...

Post by Guysanto » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:52 am

I remember attending the FIRST Haitian Jazz Music Festival at S.O.B.'s in New York, and I was truly impressed by the great job done by the organizers to insure the success of that venture. The HMI promoter (Sak Pase records) and entertainment manager (at S.O.B.), and emcee Papa Jube deserves the lion share of the credits, I would assume. In this forum, I published lots of the pictures of this magical night (photos by Tequila Minski) and shared my impressions. Serge Bellegarde did the same. We both looked forward to a replication and further improvements of events of that kind. This has in fact happened, with several events taking place later in New York and Miami. For all of this again, I give props to Papa Jube, because he has had his hand in planning and executing those wonderful events and I wish him the best of luck in future endeavors, as well as the community's support.

I do not know what is going on behind the scenes however, but I do see some dark cloud arising however, something that Papa Jube should be concerned about, because the problem arises from some of the things that he says on stage that truly he should not be saying, because in the end they will hurt us more than they would help us.

Unfortunately, I have to attend to some other matter right now. I shall be back later...

Jgpalmis
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Post by Jgpalmis » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:22 pm

Thanks Guy

For sharing this with the community. You kind of leave me hanging. if possible , what did he say that could be so harmful for the industry. I have to say that the title of your post lead to speculations. If Papa Joubè or his friends is/are members of the forum the message will be received or shared.

Mwen se fanatik mizik, m'ap tann repons ou.

Palmis

Serge
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Post by Serge » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:02 pm

Guy,

Indeed Guy, Papa Jube deserves a lot of credit for what he has done so far for Haitian music, however, like jgpalmis, I would like to know if he is slipping, like you suggest in your post. As jgpalmis says, I would like to know what Papa Jube said in order to better understand the meaning of your post and make appropriate comments. After all, you never know. By bringing this up on this forum, Papa Jube might read it and realize that he made a booboo that can be corrected before things get out of hand. mistake and correct it.

Serge

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Post by Guysanto » Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:28 pm

I am sorry for the hiatus, but I have very little time today as I have to get ready for a 12-hour road trip that begins in just a few hours. Let me try to relay my concerns as succinctly as I can.

1) I was told of this by a New York Times editor who attended the second Haitian Jazz Music Festival in Miami. [Apparently, the event was a mixed success. While the music was really great, some of the musicians felt short-changed because they were rushed or cut off for lack of time. This happened because too much time was allotted to Haitian and Haitian-American politicians, each of which spoke way too much for a supposedly non-political, music-focused entertainment event. All of this, I got second-hand however and cannot personally vouch for it.] But here is the really bad part. When Papa Jube presented Wyclef Jean, this is what he said supposedly [not verbatim] : "Wyclef is incredibly successful. This is why Black Americans [or African-Americans] hate him."

Now, if that is true (and I heard it from someone who has absolutely no reason to make it up, and even tried to calm down my outrage), then I think that this is truly DEPLORABLE. I would argue that the premise is not true, that is African-Americans DO NOT hate Wyclef Jean. And if they did, one should not bring it up publicly in front of hundreds of people, in the manner that he supposedly did, because that would only deepen an unnecessary division between native Black Americans and recent Haitian immigrants. We need to bring our peoples together, not divide them.

2) Last Sunday, I went with a friend to SummerStage, a summer festival in Central Park, Manhattan. The event was billed as one to promote Haitian Music. It went on from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. For three and a half hours, various groups played with nary a trace of Haitian Music elements thrown in the music, except for some Creole maybe. It should have been billed as a reggae and hip-hop festival, by young Haitian and non-Haitian artists who are more bent on copying other musical traditions than to study, develop, or showcase their own. Fortunately, the last half-hour of the show (plus or minus ten minutes), Djakout Music lent a Haitian touch to the event, but by then almost everyone was mentally tired. Don't take me wrong, I appreciate reggae as much as the next person. Furthermore, I love a variety of music styles, including pop, classical, and jazz. Konpa alone is not sufficient to me. I particularly enjoy Buyu Ambroise, as he successfully integrates elements of Haitian Music in American Jazz, to develop a new music form, Haitian Jazz Music, which has the potential to match one day the evolution and high standards of Cuban and Latin Jazz . But, please, if you are going to brandish the name of "Haiti" every few minutes (as Papa Jube did), give more due to our real traditions.

But what truly disappointed me was when Papa Jube started throwing lines about Haiti, being "the First and ONLY Black Republic in America", "how we kicked the French out", and "I am talking some HEAVY SHIT here". Give me a freaking break. I am just as proud of Haiti's Revolutionary History as anyone. But at a music festival, this is not the time to throw sand in other people's eyes. What you have to do is to let your music speak for itself. Entertain the people. Make them willing to come to the next Haitian Music Festival, for the music not for the History. Plus, let's face it: It's about time that Haitians truly discuss their historical past and understand its lessons, rather than keep throwing "17XX" or "18XX" around, as though those facts alone are going to get people to give us the respect that we crave. Also, be mindful of your truly diverse audience (ranging from toddlers to seniors of all races and nationalities, and geographical origins). They were not there to celebrate Haitians "kicking ass" two centuries ago, they came to listen to Haitian musicians play the Music of Haiti. Keep the focus where it should be. It's that simple.

Also, as far as groups that were announced that could not make it because they were denied visas, Wyclef not showing up because he was delayed at the airport, etc... PLEASE DO NOT EVEN MENTION THEM. We are truly sick and tired of those excuses, whether they are valid or not. We hear them at almost every Haitian event, to the point that we can anticipate exactly how they are going to be presented. If so and so does not show up, too bad! Let simply move one until we've reached a level of maturity high enough that such excuses no longer need to be formulated.

That's my two cents. I do not mean to rain on anyone's parade and I will be the first one to recognize that Papa Jube has done a tremendous lot for Haitian Music in New York City, Miami, and beyond (a Haitian Music Jazz Festival was presented in Haiti, very successfully, just a few months ago). I am of the mind to encourage all the good and beauty that's coming out of our community, culturally speaking. I am also pointing to the unnecessary baggage so that we may discard it and move on to greater heights.

Serge
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Post by Serge » Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:15 am

Guy,

I too recognize without hesitation Papa Jube's contribution. What an unfortunate thing to say! What is worse is that he may think that he did well by saying this if no one brings it up to him. I hope someone tells him to consult Windows on Haiti to read about that. If he does, your piece might help him get back on track.

One wonders some times about the kind of motivation that may be fueling this behaviour. Is it arrogance on his part, knowing that he has reached a plateau where he thinks that he is the only one around? Is it what he really thinks? Has he lost sight of his own objective? I just hope that the answers to these questions is negative. And I really hope that he reads these critiques so he can get back on the right track.

Serge

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