Tag Archives: Emeline Michel

Artist Profiles: Emeline Michel

Emeline Michel at Motorco – Photo by Angel Romero

Emeline Michel is oene the leading female vocalists from Haiti. A captivating performer, versatile vocalist, accomplished dancer, songwriter and producer. She has recorded and appeared on concert stages throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and Africa for the past 15 years. Singing both in French and Haitian Creole, her CDs Douvanjou ka leve (May the Sun Rise), Pa gen manti nan sa (There’s No Doubt), Rhum &Flamme (Rum &Flame), Tout Mon Temps (All My Time), The Very Best, and Ban’m pase (Let Me Pass) catapulted her to international acclaim.

Emeline Michel is beloved by Haitians for combining traditional rhythms with social, political and inspirational content. She is a member of a new generation of Haitian musicians which also includes guitarist/vocalist Beethova Obas and the bands Boukman Eksperyans and Boukan Ginen. In contrast to most contemporary Haitian music, this new wave of artists emphasize complex themes, conscious lyrics, and a broad palette of musical styles, including the native Haitian compas and rara along with jazz, rock, bossa nova and samba.

Born in Gonaives, Haiti, her first experience in music was singing gospel music at the local church. After completing her education, Emeline accepted an opportunity to study at the Detroit Jazz Center and returned to Haiti as a professional musician. Emeline soon released her first album Douvanjou ka leve (May the Sun Rise) which featured the hit “Plezi Mize” (Pleasure in Misery) written by Beethova Obas.

Subsequent releases “Tankou melodi”(Like a Melody) and “Flanm” (Flame) established her as one of the top artists in Haiti and the French Antilles (the nearby islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe) and she was soon hailed as the “new goddess of Creole music”.

Relocating to France, she became a leading musical icon, performing at venues such as the Jazz Festival of Nice and Theatre de la Ville, making numerous appearances on French television and gracing the covers of many fashion and culture magazines.

From her base in France, Emeline’s work quickly spread throughout the french-speaking world, including Belgium, Africa, French Antilles, French Guiana and Quebec. From the album Tout Mon Temps (All My Time) came her international smash hit “A-K-I-K-O”. While set to an infectious dance groove, the song call’s for Haiti to look past the political turmoil that has recently gripped the nation and to return to a time of innocence and joy.

After signing to a Montreal record label she began a high profile five years as one of the leading young female vocalists working in Quebec and a regular act for Canadian festivals, radio and television. In 1996, she released the album Ban’m Pase (Let Me Pass), a CD which showcased her developing talents as a mature writer and producer. This huge-selling and influential release featured the international hits “Ban’m Pase” and “Mwen bezwen” (I Need You), fully incorporated her jazz/blues/samba influences, and secured her position as one of the leading songwriters in the Haitian Creole language.

After being signed with several record labels in France, Canada and the U.S., Emeline formed her own production company (Production Cheval De Feu) in 1999 to gain full control of her career and artistic vision. Soon after she began writing a series of new songs that reflected her core inspiration – Haitian soul & roots with a world music influence – and embarked on a musical quest that would bare rich fruit as the new CD, Cordes et Ame.

Michel is currently based in New York City, where she runs her own production company, Production Cheval de Feu.

Discography:

Douvanjou Ka Leve ‎(Shap Musique, 1987)
Emeline 2 ‎(Shap Musique, 1988)
Flanm Cobalt (1989)
Pa Gen Manti Nan Sa (Geronimo Records, 1990)
Tout Mon Temps (Cobalt, 1991)
Rhum & Flamme (Air Musik, 1993)
Ban’M Pasé ‎(Antilles Mizik, 1996)
Cordes Et Ame ‎(Production Cheval De Feu, 2000)
Rasin Kreyol (Times Square Records, 2004)
Reine De Coeur ‎(Emeline Michel, 2008)
Quintessence ‎(Emeline Michel, 2013)
Gratitude – Live In Paris ‎(Aztec Musique, 2015)

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Highly Successful Black Atlantic 2018 from Duke Performances

For six days in a row, Duke Performances presented a series of concerts last week called Black Atlantic. The program brought to Durham, North Carolina, superb examples of African music and artists from the African diaspora. Duke Performances staged the concerts at two venues outside of Duke University to bring the music closer to the community: Motorco Music Hall and the Carolina Theatre.

The first Black Atlantic concert took place on Monday, March 26th, at Motorco. It featured traditional bachata artist Joan Soriano from the Dominican Republic. It was unmistakably a seductive dance event, with various dance instructors and practitioners enjoying and dancing to Soriano’s songs. A sizable group of Dominicans and other Latin Americans joined the party.

 

Emeline Michel at Black Atlantic – Photo by Angel Romero

 

The second performance, on Tuesday, March 27th presented acclaimed Haitian vocalist Emeline Michel at Motorco. Her style combines jazz and pop and her drummer incorporated addictive Haitian beats.

Ned Sublette, a well-known American composer, musician, record producer, musicologist, author and founder of Qbadisc, who attended the first concerts, said: “On the second night of the festival the super-sharp, utterly genuine Emeline Michel, freshly arrived from Haiti, played with a tight, professional 4-piece (including guitarist Dominic James) and an internationalized personal vision rooted in her home town of Gonaïves, with an overlay of music study in Detroit and a breadth of experience in various world cities. I’ve heard her music from her first album going forward, but I’d never had the chance to meet her; what a thrill. The Haitian public in North Carolina brought their shot of love to the room.”

 

Betsayda Machado and La Parranda El Clavo at Black Atlantic – Photo by Angel Romero

 

The concert on Wednesday, March 28th, featured Betsayda Machado and La Parranda El Clavo from Venezuela in the packed-out Motorco Music Hall. This Afro-Venezuelan ensemble of singers, drummers and dancers brought Venezuelan pride to a large group of compatriots who attended the event. Durham-based Venezuelan author and actor Miguel Chirinos provided details about the ensemble: “This group is originally from a town called El Clavo, Miranda State in northwestern Venezuela. Their music is based on percussion, especially the Barlovento drums; it’s typical music from the coastal towns of the country.

Talking with Betsayda, she told me that they have been making music for over 30 years and the music is the accompaniment during the processions of San Juan Bautista [Saint John the Baptist], patron of the Afro-Venezuelan community. In addition to participating in the different religious festivities, they had the opportunity to record their first CD, which includes their main compositions and which they recorded “under a mango tree”. They are also making a documentary where they will tell the story of the town El Clavo, its people and its music!

 

Betsayda Machado at Black Atlantic – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Ned Sublette articulated the following: “I expected to enjoy it, but didn’t know how rave-about-it good it would turn out to be.

Machado is a strong frontwoman, and the ensemble is first-rate. Their well-composed show was a model of how to work with traditional acoustic instruments in a percussion-based concert setting. Carrying a lot of instruments around on tour is troublesome and expensive, but they did it. This show included an Afro-Venezuelan instrument, the quitiplas [a set of bamboo sticks played vertically], that you never get to hear outside of Venezuela, as well as the furro (or furruco, a friction drum) energetically holding down the bass, along with a variety of drums. The voices of the group – five men and three women, all beautifully dressed – authoritatively affirmed melodies in well-tuned multi-part harmony, in hypnotic countertime with the drums, giving the group its own polyrhythmic texture. The longer it went on, the more the room got caught up in it.

Bad-ass Durham conguera Beverly Botsford got up with them for a hot minute, and that sounded good to me, too. It was all so compelling I couldn’t be bothered to go back to the bar to refill my delicious pint of Bell’s Porter when it ran out 20 minutes into the set.”

 

 

Hawa Kasse Mady Diabate

 

Fode Lassana Diabate

 

The fourth concert of the series, on Thursday, March 29th at Motorco, presented three of Mali’s finest musicians. Three jelis (griots) from well-known families displayed virtuosity and charm to a full house.

Chapel Hill-based producer and singer Bob Haddad, founder of the Music of the World label said: “Trio Da Kali is an extraordinary group of griot musicians from Mali. Fode Lassana Diabate plays his balafon (wooden xylophone) in the most fluid of ways; a true virtuoso. Mamadou Kouyate’s bass ngoni (West African lute) is rhythmic, percussive and entrancing, and Hawa Kasse Mady Diabate is the most accomplished female griot vocalist in recent years. Her placement of notes, the way she shapes her improvisations, and the way she quavers her voice, are truly outstanding. Together, these three musicians create a sound that is inspiring, evocative, mesmerizing and uplifting.”

 

Aurelio at Black Atlantic – Photo by Angel Romero

 

The last concert at the Motorco venue, on Friday, March 30th, highlighted the music of the Garifuna community. In this case, it was the best known Garifuna artist at this time, Aurelio Martinez, from Honduras. He delivered an exciting set of songs promoting peace and rights for the Garifuna people.

 

Diego El Cigala

 

The final Black Atlantic show took place on Saturday, March 31st at a much larger venue, the Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham. Flamenco vocalist Diego El Cigala presented his latest project, a collaboration with salsa musicians. Soleir Gordon-Shaefer, host and producer of La Tertulia con Solangel on WHUP in Hillsborough said: “He’s one of my favorites. I totally enjoyed the concert, it was more than I expected since he not only promoted his Indestructible CD, but also sang other songs that were requested. The performance of the chorus and the musicians was tremendous, especially the pianist. It was a magical night with the audience’s euphoria.”

To learn more about Diego El Cigala’s performance, read TJ Nelson’s full review of the concert: Romance, Passion and Vigorous Salsa: Diego El Cigala at the Carolina Theatre.

Aaron Greenwald, executive director of Duke Performances, revealed to World Music Central that the intention is to continue the Black Atlantic series next year. We are already looking forward to more of this superb series.

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Black Atlantic Music Festival at Duke University

Duke Performances will present a Black Atlantic, a captivating six-day world music festival, celebrating the music of Africa and the African diaspora. The festival takes place the last week of March 2018 at several venues in Durham, North Carolina .

The extraordinary program includes some of the finest artists from Africa and the Caribbean. The festival opens with acclaimed traditional Dominican bachata musician Joan Soriano. Next is one of Haiti’s top female performers, singer-songwriter Emeline Michel.

Afro-Venezuelan vocalist Betsayda Machado and her backing band La Parranda El Clavo are one of the sensations in the world music scene.

Mali produces an impressive amount of high quality talent. Trio da Kali is one of the new stars of the Malian scene. It’s a collaboration between some of Mali’s leading jeli (griot) musical families, Hawa Kassé Mady, daughter of Kassé Mady Diabaté; bala player Lassana Diabaté; and ngoni master Mamadou Kouyaté.

Honduran composer, singer-songwriter and activist Aurelio (Aurelio Martínez) is currently the most influential Garifuna artist. Aurelio will be presenting his new album Darandi released on Peter Gabriel’s Real world Records.

Aurelio – Darandi

 

The last concert of Black Atlantic will present flamenco star Diego El Cigala with top salsa musicians. His most recent album Indestructible is a tribute to salsa music.

 

Diego El Cigala – Indestructible

 

Black Atlantic Schedule

Joan Soriano (Dominican Republic)
Monday, March 26, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

 

Joan Soriano

 

 

Emeline Michel (Haiti)
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

Emeline Michel

 

 

Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

 

Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo

 

 

Trio da Kali (Mali)
Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

Trio da Kali

 

 

Aurelio (Honduras)
Friday, March 30, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

Aurelio Martinez in 2010 at Forde Festival in Norway – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Diego El Cigala (Spain/Dominican Republic)
Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Carolina Theatre of Durham

Diego El Cigala

 

 

For more information or tickets go to: dukeperformances.duke.edu

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SOB’s in New York Will Present the First Haitian Jazz Festival

Emeline Michel

 

New York City (New York), USA – New York’s most venerable world music venue, SOB’s (Sounds Of Brazil), 200 Varick Street @ W. Houston, (212)243-4940, will host the First Haitian Jazz Festival on October 9, 2005. The roster will include well-known performers like Joel Widmaier & Richard Barbot, Boulo Valcourt, Eddy Prophete, Buyu Amboise & The Blues & Red Band, Reginald Policard, Mozayik, Beethova Obas, Emeline Michel> and many invited guests. Doors will open at 6:00 pm, the show commences at 8:00 pm. Admission is $30 in advance or $35 at the door.Over the years, Haiti has been home to many great jazz players but they were often overshadowed by the overwhelming popularity of folklore-based rasin (roots) music and especially, konpa, a lilting, graceful yet infectiously rhythmic dance groove. But a small, diehard minority of enthusiasts kept jazz alive and it gradually came to influence the more dominant local styles.

As in the United States, Haitian jazz began with drumming and vocal styles carried into the Caribbean by slave laborers. These were mixed with French court dances which evolved into the cinquillo, a five-note pattern common to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Trinidad. There was considerable traveling between Haiti and New Orleans and seminal musical strands like the blues and
ragtime gathered adherents but the give-and-take was periodically severed by disruptive social and political epochs. Swing made landfall during the American occupation (1915-1934), when Haiti rivaled Cuba as a vacation destination for the wealthy and the island produced several great hotel big bands.

Haitian workers who had gone to work in the newly independent nation of Zaire (now Congo) in the early 60s had brought back examples of seductive soukous guitar licks and New York bebop gained ground in the seventies, when another tourism boom attracted famous musicians from everywhere. Meanwhile, Haitian musicians had continued to trade innovations with colleagues from other nearby islands, especially Martinique, Puerto Rico and Cuba. All of these elements have been burnished and refined into a specifically Haitian brand of jazz that could never have existed anywhere else, a strong, vivid and beautiful voice rising amid what
has become a worldwide chorale.

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