Richès Dayiti: Rediscovered Haitian Piano Treasures with Marianne Parker


Souvenir de quinze jours au Cap Haïtien (Memories of Fifteen Days in Cap Haitien) – François Manigat (1890-1935)

Danza I (Habanera) + III from Quatre danses (Four Dances) – Ludovic Lamothe (1882-1953)

Yanvalou Ginen – Gifrants (b. 1957)

Arôme Musical (Musical Aroma)- Gifrants (b. 1957)

Pages intimes (Intimate Pages) II. Melancholie (Melancholy) – Edmond Saintonge (1861-1907)

Romance en fa mineur – Edmond Saintonge (1861-1907)

Sonate folklorique – Emile Desamours (b. 1941)

I. Femmes (Women)
II. Tendresse (Tenderness)
III. Mystères (Mysteries)

Marianne Parker, piano

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Program notes:

According to leading Haitian classical music scholar Claude Dauphin, François Manigat was born in Cap Haitian in 1890 and was the father of sociologist Leslie Manigat, who was very briefly president of Haiti. Souvenir de quinze jours au Cap Haïtien is one of the few works he wrote that has survived and is available thanks to the scholarship and advocacy of the Société de recherche et de diffusion de la musique Haïtienne (Society for the Research and Promotion of Haitian Music).

Ludovic Lamothe was born in Port-au-Prince, traveled to France to study at the Paris Conservatoire, and then returned to Haiti for the rest of his life, where Haitians called him “Black Chopin” and “the last of the romantics.” He was celebrated for incorporating into the Western classical music tradition he studied in school the Haitian and West African rhythms and cultural elements with which he grew up. Some of his compositions depicted elements of Vodou ceremonies, many incorporated the méringue dance rhythm, and one was written to celebrate the end of Haiti’s occupation by the US. However, Lamothe lacked access to international music publishers and so had difficulty generating income from his compositions.

Gifrants is a Haitian-American composer originally from Cap Haitian who now lives near Montréal, Canada, with his wife Marie Elise, and previously lived in the Boston area. In Montréal, he is involved with the Society for the Research and Promotion of Haitian Music the Haitian Music. He writes in a style he calls “natif” which aims to use Haitian peasant music as an inspiration and eschew European harmonic systems. His website shares that “with over 30 years of composing and performing experience, Gifrants has reached a pinnacle and new plateau in his unique and sultry brand/genre of fused Jazz and Traditional Pan-Caribbean style of music. This seasoned artist has entertained the Eastern Seaboard with evocative rhythms as well as stories brought-to-life in live settings with unrivaled passion. Gifrants has published numerous projects on his label Gaëta Records. Writing, producing and acting as his own publicist, he is often accompanied by a plethora and revolving roster/cast of Boston based luminaries who help him perform his pieces in live and studio settings.”

Born in Haiti, Edmond Saintonge grew up in Paris and then returned to Haiti as an adult, where he worked as a pharmacist in the town of Léogâne. His music was lost from his death until 1998 the Society for the Research and Promotion of Haitian Music began working to relocate his scores.

Born in Cap Haitian, Emile Desamours was the son of David Desamours, who conducted Haiti’s National Palace Band. In the 1960s, Emile studied music at Haiti’s National Conservatory, which no longer exists and has essentially been replaced by other music institutions in the country. He went on to work as an engineer for his vocation while writing music and conducting a church choir for his avocation.