She is the reigning Queen of Haitian Song: a captivating performer, versatile vocalist and one of the premier Haitian songwriters of her generation. She has recorded and appeared on concert stages throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and North & South America for over 20 years. Singing both in French and Haitian Creole, her nine albums, 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, Ban’m pase (Let Me Pass), Cordes et Ame (Strings and Soul), Rasin Kreyol (Creole Roots), and Reine de Cour (Queen of Hearts) have 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 unique generation of Haitian musicians that emerged in the late 1980’s and also includes guitarist/vocalist Beethova Obas and the bands Boukman Eksperyans and Boukan Guinen. This wave of artists emphasized complex themes, conscious lyrics, and a broad palette of musical styles, including the native Haitian compas, twoubadou and rara. 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 that featured the hit “Plezi Mize” (Pleasure in Misery) written by Beethova Obas. Subsequent releases “Tankou melodie” (Like a Melody) and “Flanm” (Flame) established her as one of the top artists in Haiti and the French Antilles, 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 music and culture magazines. From her new base in France, Emeline’s work quickly spread throughout the French‐speaking world, including Belgium, Africa, the French Antilles, French Guiana, Québec, as well as Chile and Japan. The album Tout Mon Temps delivered her international smash hit “A‐K‐I‐K‐O.” While set to an infectious dance groove, the song called for Haiti to look past the political turmoil that has long gripped the nation and to return to a time of innocence and joy.
After signing to a Montréal record label she enjoyed a high profile as one of the leading young female vocalists working in Québec and a regular act for Canadian festivals, radio and television. In 1996, she released the album Ban ‘m Pase, a CD that 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. In 2000 Emeline released Cordes et Ame (Strings and Soul), a song‐cycle centered on the theme of perseverance, featuring the sound of voice & acoustic guitars bathed in the ancient and modern rhythms of Haiti. Cordes et Ame became the fastest selling recording in Haiti and received Haiti’s “Musique En Folie” citation for Best Haitian Album and Best Production for the year 2000. In 2004, Emeline returned with Rasin Kreyol (Creole Roots) a powerful, mature album and tribute to Haitian traditional music. Incandescent rhythms, with poignant, soul stirring lyrics, the CD spawned major hits such as Banm La Jwa (Give Me Joy), Nasyon Soley (Sun Nation), Lom Kampe (When I Will Stand Up) and Beni Yo (Bless Them), which became an inspirational anthem to the Haitian nation during the violent political struggles in the middle of the decade.
This album opened multiple doors on the international scene and Emeline had the opportunity to showcase her talents and the music of Haiti on National Public Radio, CBC Radio, Canadian television, and top venues and festivals such as Reggae on the River, Mountain Stage, the Getty Center, Stern Grove, Montréal Jazz Festival, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and a three‐day series at Carnegie Hall. Jon Pareles, principal popular music critic for The New York Times, reviewing a Joe’s Pub performance described her as “the dancing ambassador with a voice serene and warm like a breeze”. The Times also printed a major artistic profile of Emeline on November 19, 2004 entitled “A Diplomat of Music, Longing for Her Homeland”. La Presse de Montréal, the leading newspaper in Québec described the music on Rasin Kreyol as
“concentrated with sun, tears, sand, and mud on the musical genres of Kompa, Rara, and sacred and profound rhythms, these ‘ kreyol roots’ [Rasyn Creoles] find again a way to nourish themselves from the deserted soil of the magic land [Haiti]”, and cited Rasin Kreyol as the Best World Music Album of 2004. In 2006, Emeline was chosen from among the multitude of talented New York‐based performers to deliver the headline performance for the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative, a conclave of over 2000 world dignitaries, thinkers, presidents and world leaders brought together by former President Bill Clinton. On December 2007 Emeline was invited as the guest of honor at Music en Folie, an annual national music fair in Port‐au‐Prince, Haiti. The occasion was a pre‐release of her 2008 CD (and 9th album), Reine de Coeur, a jewel of 14 songs. Rustic and rhythmic, profound and personal, Reine de Coeur reaches you to the core. Conceptualized and written between Africa and Haiti, and recorded in Haiti, New York, Montreal and Burkina Faso (French West Africa) with a team of 35 musicians, this is Emeline’s third consecutive turn in the producers chair in addition to her roles as vocalist and songwriter. Spicy, crunchy, sweet, Reine de Coeur is loaded with delectable music morsels and autobiographic stories such as Gade Papi (Look Papa) which reminds us to dream our dreams, Maricela and Banda. Haiti’s leading daily paper Le Nouvelliste observed, “Emeline [Reine de Coeur] is selling like hot cakes …. Just as every citizen has a national identity card, every Haitian should have one Emeline CD at their home”. Reine de Coeur has been universally acclaimed and once again the “Horse of Fire” (Emeline’s production company Production Cheval de Feu) has left its mark with rich and beautiful album that sets a new standard for Haitian music.
Production Cheval De Feu chevalproductions@hotmail
Born in Senegal to a Gewel griot family, singer and percussionist SIDY SAMB is the son of Daro Mbaye, one of the first women singers in the popular mbalax genre and from whom he learned the foundations of technique and composition. On a visit to Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo, he discovered a passion for flamenco music and decided to make his home there. He quickly found his way into the music scene and became a founding member of Mártires del Compás (Martyrs of the Compass), a seminal “nuevo flamenco” band, that same year.Read More
Bidew Bou Bess
BIDEEW BOU BESS (“New Star” in the Wolof language) is a performing group of three brothers: Moctar, Baïdy and Ibrahima Sall. The trio is recognized throughout Senegal for their innovative mix of musical genres and languages, as well as for their attention and commitment to important social issues at home and abroad. Natives of Podor, the brothers relocated to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, where as young hip-hoppers they began performing in 1994. After winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education in 1996, they caught the attention of Senegalese cultural icon Youssou Ndour.Read More
MAIMOUNATA (“Maï”) LINGANI is one of the most popular singers and songwriters of Burkina Faso, West Africa. She currently divides her time between New York City and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Maï was born in Koudougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and started singing professionally during her late teens. In the mid-1990s, she won several prizes with bands playing styles ranging from reggae to the traditional musics of various Ivoirian ethnicities, and toured nationally. In 1996, she met the musicians Lukas Ligeti (of Austria, now residing in the U.S.) and Kurt Dahlke (of Germany)and participated in the recording of their group Beta Foly’s critically acclaimed CD, her first international release (“Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly”, Intuition Records, Germany, 1997).Read More
Ndongo Bahoum Diop was born in Ziguinchor, which is the richest cultural city in Senegal, in July 1964. His nickname is Lucky. He belong to the Diola (jola) tribe, one the rare tribes where everybody is a musician! His father’s position in the justice department gave him the great opportunity to learn about the dynamic music of the Toucouleur and the Wolof tribe at his early age. At the age of 10, Lucky was already performing for his classmates. In high school, he was among the first students to join the music band which won several competitions nationwide. During his last two years in high school, he collaborated with Solo Cissokho, a prominent kora player in Senegal. Lucky spiced up his compositions with sabar, bougarabou, seyrouba and djembe rhythms. As Solo’s repertoire became more diverse, they both gained more fans.Read More
Ibu hails from Podor, a small town in Senegal, Afrika. Ibu picked up the guitar at the age of twelve, starting a special relationship with music. Self taught, he studies music like one would study a language. Very early he found himself surrounded by various styles of music from Pulaar rhythms to American Blues and RNB. “I remember listening to James Brown, Otis Redding without knowing what they were saying…there was a time I was nicknamed Wilson W. Pickett,” Ibu says.Read More