Frequently referred to as “the Joni Mitchell of Haiti,” singer/songwriter/dancer Emeline Michel is a highly regarded daughter of contemporary Haitian music. Her enormous popularity with lovers of Creole and compas (an upbeat meringue native to Haiti) at Haitian music festivals from Miami to Montreal can be heard and felt in the combustible roar of applause for the veteran singer’s riveting performances of what she calls “Haitian soul and roots.”
Born in Haiti’s “City of Independence,” Gonaïves, Emeline sang gospel in her neighborhood church and studied music at the Detroit Jazz Center in Michigan before returning home and releasing six albums with guitarist/vocalist Beethova Obas. (These include her first hit song in Haiti, “Plezi Mize” [“Pleasure in Misery”] and “A.K.I.K.O.,” the first international dance hit she dropped after relocating to France in the ’90s.)
Like her famous musical counterparts Boukman Experience, Emeline sings in French and her native Creole, taking listeners on a journey of Haitian resilience through song. On Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9, lucky NYC fans will be able to witness the iconic singer join storytelling forces with renowned Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat and beloved griots/vocalists James Germain and Jean-Claude Martineau for Emeline Michel Quintessence: The Healing Voices of Haiti. This rare appearance at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse celebrates the release of Emeline’s latest album, Quintessence, a highly anticipated album of socially conscious Creole pop five years in the making. — Sun Singleton
Support Emeline Michel at her site, Emeline-Michel.com.
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