Some call her the Joni Mitchell of Haiti; others see her as the reigning queen of Creole music. But for many Haitians, Emeline Michel’s voice represents the Soul of Haiti. Through her songs, they have fallen in love, laughed, rejoiced, danced and cried. She continues to uplift her countrymen with songs such as “Nasyon Soleil” (sunny nation); filled with social, political and inspirational content.
Emeline Michel’s musical repertoire draws a fruitful combination of traditional Haitian rhythms such as Compas, Rara, including Jazz, and Pop. The singer’s first performance for the New Year took place at Joe’s pub on Saturday, January 7, with a surprised performance of an original blues’ number from her upcoming album. Emeline took the stage with her musicians and special guest, vocalist James Germain. The two performed “Latibonit” leaving the audience feeling nostalgic.
As the second anniversary of the January 12 Earthquake is approaching, Emeline Michel took the opportunity to talk about the tragedy and the obligation to rebuild Haiti as children of the “ Nasyon Soleil.
If Haiti is still standing it is not because of its politicians; it is thanks to artists such as Manno Charlemagne, Obed Jean Louis, John Steve Brunache, Buyu Ambroise, Tabou Combo, Ram, Boukman Eksperyans, Toto Bissainte, Beken, and Emeline Michel who have used their voices and spirits to fight against corruption, poverty, injustice, as well as to uplift the people’s spirits with hope, love, and courage.
Photographs and story by Francesca Andre.