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Getting to know Haitian classical music

There aren't many Haitian composers of Classical music, but then Haiti is not that large of a country. I'd like to lend a support in that direction today. At this juncture, I need a break from the sad story coming from Haiti; hopefully the future will hold better news, or at least something along the lines of progress.

1st up - guitar music, natch:

Frantz Casseus: Dance of the Hounsies It's the last track on this CD. There's another recording of his works performed by the guitarist Marc Ribot that you might want to check out; unfortunately there's no way to preview them online.

choral music:

Emile Desamours: Alélyoua. A full performance of this work can be heard on Youtube by the Missouri All State Chorus 2008. I think a student from a fall semester class of mine is in this group! In any case, this piece is right up my alley, with some good percussive elements performed by the voices.


Ludovic Lamothe - I found references to him as the "black Chopin."I think this has to do with the fact that he composed numerous character pieces and dances. HIs Danza No. 3 in E flat Major seems to capture a little of Chopin inside Haitian rhythms. You might give the Ballad, Valse, and others a quick listen as well.



gypsy, i'm a little disturbed by this, let me tell you why: you have said before that your involvement with classical music came later in life and you are not unaware of the more "primative" rythyms underlying ALL music.

i'm not an expert in this, but i feel fairly safe in asserting that haiti has an extensive and rich tradition of local music, one that has been influential in the world, and it sure as hell ain't classical. couldn't we find something a little more joyful, a little more danceable, a little more CARRIBIAN, a little more representative of the haitian spirit here? i mean, you don't go to haiti to find classical music, anymore than you fuel a good party with polish or bulgarian music (well some people do but i don't go to those parties).

if your intent was to find something appropriately somber and dirge-like, well i'm not sure that haitians speak that (musical) language. and if they do, i doubt it sounds like classical.

just sayin.

love your posts.


Did you listen to any of the examples? I know that Amazon doesn't work for you, but each example listed incorporates Haitian flavor into the music. At least check out the youtube link. I have to disagree that any example I posted sounds anything like a dirge.

If you're looking for field recordings, a trip to Amazon entering haiti music will produce numerous recordings of native local music.


(What is it about January and Earthquakes?)

I too am disturbed, but by thoughts of our visiting friend , Girard, a musician of no boundries between high and low, etc. He does the whole Gamma-ut.

Mr. Becker,

we are all experts in all "Mouzika", I believe the word is "anamnesis". You must have forgotten what you already know. Knew. We have a musician here, Gerard, Girarde, from Haiti, studying here at the college on scholarship. He had already set up music schools around Haiti, and was studying formally with the intent of going back and setting up more, following the example of Venezuela. Or Heitor Villa-Lobos, in Brazil, once upon a time, I am afraid to find out what happened to Girard, I don't know his last name, did he go home for vacation? When school starts up again. I guess I will have to find out. He was, is, a master of Sax, but also picked up the Bassoon, any woodwind instrument, any instrument in no time, like he had been playing it for years, Anamneisis. Call his Island "Anamnesia".

Mere party music is the music of...


Or maybe just Dionysus.


Was that you who embedded the Youtube link? If so, thank you! If not, i didn't realize that would just happen.

I have listened to the video and I really love the way Haitians sings. They got this distinctive voice that any person would fell in love.

Just want to say that I'm a Haitian musician currently living in MA, USA. I have published "Kantik Natif, Volim I" which is music book containing scores of Haitian folk and voodoo music using the "natif" concept.

I just published last week "Pa Amou"--introducing "Chantrèl", a Haitian approach to chamber music. These are 14 original pieces written for a string quartet, with the exception of 2 written for a flute as the leading instrument.

Just for your info.

Best regards,



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