Haiti Classical / Contredanse

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Serge
Posts: 326
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:39 am

Post by Serge » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:41 am

By the way, interesting nickname!

I just read your post and I would like to provide you with some information which might help you, if you have not found anything yet. The 2 CDs you bought are among the best of a lot more. the CD "Music of the Haitian Masters" is a compilation of some of the best and the most representative of Haitian Classical music that not too many people know about. In fact, many Haitians themselves do not have a clue of the contribution of Haitian classical composers to the music. As you listen to the music of Ludovic Lamothe on the CD you bought, you will better appreciate the close ties that bind Haitian and Cuban classical composers. Many Cubans used to play with Haitians and vice-versa. You can hear it in the music, whether classical or popular. That is why cultural ties between the two have always been so strong.

The best known late Haitian classical guitarist, Frantz Casseus, trained many guitarists while he was living in New York. The well-known American Guitarist Marc Ribot can tell you more about that. Casseus was his mentor and he has composed a "Haitian Suite" as a tribute to him. There is a Haitian guitarist living in Florida whom I recently came in touch with, even though he has been in music for some time now. He is just excellent and his style is reminiscent of Frantz Casseus. His name is Jean Michel Clermont. Should you want to get in touch with him his no. is 727-742-8391 .

But you also need to know about the great Haitian composer with a Geman name: Werner Jaegerhubber, who did a tremendous job composing some of our greatest folkloric melodies. Recently, a CD was released in Canada, celebrating the music of this great composer sung by Chantal Lavigne, soprano and played by David Bontemps, piano. It is a treat if you like this music. We have a pretty vast heritage of Haitian classical/folkloric composer (that is Haitian musicians playing our folklore with a classical tinge). It is fascinating and no one can inform you better and give you more extensive information than Haitian musicologist Claude Dauphin, who lives in Canada.

If you are interested in acquiring real insight into this genre of Haitian music, he is the man. I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago and he is fascinating and most humble. Since 1979, he has set up the "Société de recherche et de diffusion de la musique haitienne" and he has the Canadian Gvt.'s support. He knows the music of Jeagerhuber well, as well as the history Haitian classical music as well as the composers. I am reproducing below a phone no. which, I hope is valid, because I have not been in touch with him: (450) 677-8418.

I hope this information will put on the right track, so that you can pursue your interest in our classicla music.

Good luck!

Serge

Serge
Posts: 326
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:39 am

Post by Serge » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:28 pm

Cocolo,

When I read your message, I decided to answer you immediately before even going to you website. My apology also for some typos I noticed , but I just wanted to put that out of the way before I rushed out.

Now that I have had time to go to your site, I must congratulate you. It is very well conceived and the historical part is excellent. This is a learning experience on the culture of Puerto Rico which is quite rich. I have been there twice and always enjoyed my stay there. You may know that in Haiti, Puerto Rican music is quite popular, as is music from all the islands for that matter. It is unfortunate that Haitian music does not enjoy the same notoriety not only in Puerto Rico, but in the other islands, whatever the language spoken. And this is quite an irony because, as you rightly say, Haiti plays an important role in the cultural development of the rest of the Caribbean. I suspect that if there was some kind of radio station in any of these islands dedicated to giving exposure to Haitian music there, it would open many more eyes about Haiti's culture.

The problem is, simply put, that there has not been enough integration among Spanish, English and French speaking islands in the Caribbean, and this was by design. In that respect, not too many people know for example that before the Caribbean became independent, Puerto Rico was at the forefront of the movement to create a West Indian Federation, an idea that is being revived now.

Anyway, congratulations again for your website. I am going back to looking at everything there and learn a few things about Puerto Rican cultural presence.

Serge

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