FEW WORDS ABOUT TWO UNFORGETTABLE HAITIAN WOMAN ARTISTS
Welcome to this special Edition, today, I began a first edition in the columns of Haiti d’Outre-Mer, entitled, “Opened window on our Haitian artists”, this edition is dedicated exclusively to all Haitian Citizen all over the world. Opened window, will enable you to better appreciate our artists… From time to time, we will propose other editions to you in order to allow yourselves to enjoy the artists that are too often forgotten. Haiti d’Outre-Mer, a great reality of which it is necessary to hold and appreciate.
Today, no society, no country, on whatever its level of equipment and the nature of its ambitions, can remain unaware of the globalization of the phenomena of communication, directly related to the continuous acceleration of the technological improvements. The Internet radically modifies the landscape of communication, and therefore offering a vast field to share ideas all the way through. We inevitably need to fall into step and to put ourselves at the tuning-fork.The opportunity of today is a beautiful asset, which offers a colossal advantage on the cultural level.
In the perspective of research of our Haitian female celebrities, in my opened window today, I introduce to you two valiant women of Haiti who formerly made my father, my mother, sisters and brothers dance. We want to speak about these two distinguished women, Lumane Casimir and Martha Jean-Claude. They were not soldiers, they did not wear shoulder pads, but they account for two remarkable ladies in the history of the music in Haiti. However, other women deserve to be quoted among the crowd today. But, in my opinion, these two distinguished women represent the first generation of women on scene in the 20th century in Haiti.
Lumane Casimir, Martha Jean Claude
These women, in some aspect appear to owe their reputation only thanks to us, a generation in the process of disappearance, not of a Haitian national academy. The generation to come, will not find foot steps of them because of the chronic deficiency of information which reigns in my country…However, these valorous artists make party of our cultural inheritance and deserve better recognition.
In a preoccupation of conservation of their legacy, and the goal to ventilate their stardom, I invite you to a historical background for the benefit of the rising generation and this is the reason, that we dedicate a special tribute to them.
Today, a special page is devoted to them …
Both belong to the first generation of women on scene in Haiti.
What have they become in our cultural legacy? Some of us still remember vaguely that they were just singers. They are all thrown in the drawers of the lapse of memory. Among so, much forgotten artists, let us quote: Lumane Casimir, Martha Jean-Claude, Emerante de Pradines, Yannick Coupet, Toto Bisainthe, Carole Demesmin and, leading into our generation, the beautiful voice of Emeline Michel. We especially did not forget Toto Bissainthe, of which the interpretation of voodoo songs stripped in Europe 1980’s, made her the largest singer and Haitian actress at that time. Another woman Yole Dérose, who not long ago, sang in duet or solo accompanied by her husband, now deceased, is one we should also remember. We do not have any sign of her in the Haitian Diaspora, but according to a recent report arrived to us, she continues to annually organize concerts in Haiti in order to promote the women of art.
It is always the same situation which still reigns concerning our current Haitians artists; they are always in prey with this statuquo.
Things are worse in Haiti into a perpetual political crisis where all institutions are in a state of deliquescence.
Our Music “Choucoune sé te yon Marabout”, one of the most beautiful poetic parts of our national bard Oswald Durand, one of our folk songs was subsidized by the Latin and taken as their own. All this happen due to the absence of Copyrights Institution in Haiti.
Let’s talk about Lumane now:
The reports/ratios on her life are so often confined as a legend and appear to us as little chatter. In addition, traces of her authentic existence, had not been the implicit credit granted to certain forms of testimony, some would have the right to see in Lumane only piles and pure product of a collective mirage. Very few things of hers remain today, apart from what she was, “a country-woman with a gold voice” whose songs will remain “in the memories of the most evocative airs of the hours of enchantment and of the Exposure of the “Bicentenaire” (2). And in spite of our meeting of certain people who knew her a little, and more often seen her on scene, to outline a linear course of Lumane can hold only of one real challenge that after many unfruitful attempts we humbly renounce to rise.
With her guitar under the arms, she would be seen in Port-au-Prince around the age of 14 years old, freshly arriving from Gonaïves and carrying out the typical existence of the mown artists. She was discovered in “champs de Mars” during one of her improvised street performances by painter Alix Roy who hastily introduced her to his aunt Lina Mathon Blanchet. The diagnosis of the Master was immediate: her talent was undeniable and was automatically recruited to be counted as one in Lina’s group. Informally, according to one of our sources, Lumane held the scene with the famous Band ”Jazz des Jeunes”. Lina, had no doubt of this art she had created, taking advantage of this opportunity to lavish more success, to make it efficient and profitable, especially for hers at the time. This would also be accompanied by the untamable and talented Ti Roro in the tam tam. Which finally brings me to say, who is Lumane? With diffuse memories, it arises to this: the perception of her oscillates between a street girl and not more advisable, of a girl with emotional and sentimental unstable life. It is reported, incidentally, that around 1949, she would marry a man named Jean-Bart for a short period of time. It was also reported that many of her songs where written by her. It was known that she was always broke and drunk profusely … Some people from that period remembers her looking down with an attitude a little rough, and the promptness of her remarks seemed unapproachable. Her appearance composed of nappy hair, white tennis shoes and on scene, a large flowered hat. Even when she would perform overseas she presented the same attire and attitude.
If we refer to the year 1953, reported the year of her death, the passage of Lumane in the Haitian song seems, in the final analysis, to have been only of short duration. According to people during that period, she was abandoned suffering great misery, and died from tuberculosis in a ghetto at “Fò Senklè” borough of Port-au-Prince. Other voices insist that Lina or another helping hand would have assisted her in the last moments and that she would have died in the hospital. A last version, that is quite as plausible, supports that she would have died a very young person - approximately 35 years old, of improper use of alcohol, and of the disorderly and unmanageable life she carried out. The life of Lumane, just like her death, was that of large, impregnable density. Of her remains most important, these songs so marvelously tough, and of the bits that obviously we did not take time to restock yet,is carried by the voice of epigone, Carole Démesmin, and was also performed at her first opus, this homage of the Koralen writer-storyteller (Jean Claude Martineau: She left us five songs (Papa Guédé, Panama' m tombé s, Carolina Acao, Viv Ayiti and Ayiti Cheri) which one can always listen with happiness in spite of the distorting sonority of the disc vinyl engraved in 78 turns. Of an impeccable voice, fragile and of charm, she still remains as being the best artist in folk song. She was the first woman to be accompanied by a Guitar. Carole Demesmin, in a well versified and well arranged song that she sang, described her a little bit with these following words: Lyrics Songs