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Gary French CD Release party.

Photos by Manny Ardouin & Francois Adrien
Narration by Frankie Morone.

To put it frankly, I felt honored when I was asked by the staff of Pikliz (which I am part of) to write a short biography about Gary French. The following day, I called his darling wife Marika and asked her a few questions.

My first recollection of Gary's voice was in 1962 or 1963 at the " bicentenaire". I saw him on a float of "Cadence Rempas" singing the "Merengue carnavalesque : Nou porté malathion pou musique parasite". I vividly recall him that Sunday, playing the maracas and occasionally adjusting the height of the microphone. In retrospect, his voice was full of life, beauty and excitement.

Gary was born in Port -au - Prince on August 26,1939. His father was Haitian and his mother Dominican. He was deeply influenced by her as youngster. Gary loved to listen to Latin Ballads. He was nicknamed the "Prince of Boleros".

At the age of 19, Gary French was a vocalist of the "Ensemble Weber Sicot". He brought fame to that band. His successes were :la femme de mes rêves - Haiti pays de rêves just to name a few. While Wéber Sicot was trailing behind Nemours Jean - Baptiste, Gary's presence added this " Je ne sais quoi" in that ensemble. His voice was unmatched and the young Gary seemed to be very confident. Wébert Sicot and the band took a trip to the French Antilles. At the end of the tour, Gary decided not to return to Haiti.

It was not easy for him. However he decided to stay despite all. He was one of the first artists to introduce Haitian music to the Guadeloupeans. In one of his performances, he was awarded the " Medal of the city of Fort de France" by the Mayor. Far from family members and a bit nostalgic, Gary decided to leave Martinique in 1966. His destination: New - York City.

By 1967, he was singing in several bands. Among one of them was "The Pepe Bayard ensemble". When Gary walks into a rehearsal room, the attitude of the other musicians would change. He was a great story teller and a great joker. He always makes people laugh. I am not kidding. Unknown to him at that time, Gary was on his way to making it. I would say, it was not just talent but also hard work. Gary was hip, elegant, honest and always punctual (except once he entered the expressway on the exit ramp and had to drive onto in coming traffic for about 2 miles). A musician once told me, "Gary as a singer is never off keys." He can sing in French - Spanish & English very very well.

In 1968, Gary met Marie Carmel Gousse. He was 28 years old. That evening changed his life forever. Seriously, she turned him upside down and he also flipped. I guess he had met " La femme de mes rêves". They would marry that same year.

In the early 70's, he and 5 pals Carlos Ramirez, Patrick Coby, Michel Corvinton, George Kahara and Reynold Duverglas formed the Tropical Sextet. This band was very popular and performed in several clubs in the Metro area on weekends and weddings etc. etc.

In comparison with Michelangelo who was a great sculptor, Gary through hard work and dedication became an accomplished singer. He is still going strong. He can sing with or without a microphone. No one else can come closer.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the privilege and honor to introduce to you one more time the talented Gary French. Of courses your comments are always welcome. Enjoy.

Chanteur de renommée internationale, Gary refuse de faire ses adieux à la musique. Il continue à chanter. Ecoutez ce dernier CD et vous pourrez constater que c' est un homme chic qui a du talent. Donnez lui un microphone, un échafaud et quelques spectateurs; C' est de tout dont il a besoin pour se surpasser. Il est sans doute un classique de la musique haitienne.

  • 7 years 9 months ago
    When you are performing ,you do not look shy at all Serge !
  • 7 years 9 months ago
    Serge , you were probably singing " Sabor a mi " in this picture !
  • 7 years 9 months ago
    The super talented Serge Breton performing that evening.
    Singing has a tendency to take you there : Heaven !
  • 7 years 9 months ago
    Fanfan Abouzeide, Ms Chemalie & Karel Chatel
    Contente de te revoir Karel , tu n'as pas changee . Bonjour a Eddy de ma part !
  • 7 years 9 months ago
    Mr & Mrs Montfleury
    Mano et Marie Therese je suis contente de vous revoir . Vous avez bonne mine .Marie Therese comme toujours , tres elegante !
  • Guy Salomon (Private)
    9 years ago
    Maestro Gary French
    Allô Gary,

    Je suis Guy Salomon, ton ami de longue date qui cherchait depuis plusieurs années à te rencontrer ou à te parler.

    La culture physique chez Gérald Victor et ma composition musicale < Crainte d'Amour > avec Sicot sont deux références sûres pour t'aider à m'identifier autrement.

    J'espère avoir tes coordonnées, bientôt. Je repars vers Haïti, le 1er janvier 2009.

    Guy Salomon
    d'Haïti
  • (Anonymously) (Private)
    9 years ago
    Guests enjoying the evening.
    That's my Nainaine!
  • 9 years ago
    Pat Coby, Rudy & Gary
    Hi Gary,
    It was so nice to see you and my dad play again @ the Mixed Notes Cafe in NY. The last time I saw you two play, I was 16. It brought back great memories.
  • Elza (Private)
    9 years 1 month ago
    Maestro Gary French
    I had a chance to buy your CD last night at the Mixed Notes Café in New - York. You still have the touch of making others dream - Best wishes and much success.
  • Frankie Morone (Private)
    9 years 1 month ago
    Gary French & Serge Breton @ the forefront.
    Gary French is undoubtedly a great singer (for several decades now). From his successes with the Ensemble Weber Sicot, to "Capri c' est fini", with Pepe Bayard, he unquestionably left his mark in the history of Haitian & Guadeloupean music.

    Seriously, once he arrived in Guadeloupe. While at the airport, he realized that he had left his passport in NY. He was so well known , they let him in without the necessary document. The immigration officer told him: " Mr. French vous n' avez pas besoin d' un passeport pour visiter la Guadeloupe". Of course, traveling & security were not as difficult as they are now.

    Gary is a well disciplined and dedicated artist . Voila! This CD is a classic example of someone who works relentlessly to carry the "flambeau" to the highest level.

    Serge Breton is also a great entertainer. One can see his passion in the pictures taken that night. Doesn't he look like he is in heaven when he is on the podium ? They are both my friend & I wish them success in the sale of that CD.

    Good luck to you Gary & Serge. By the way Serge, just to let you know, I will be in St. Thomas early next year. I will see you there.
  • Gladys Noel (Private)
    9 years 1 month ago
    Arriving guests having their CDs autographed
    Sensationnel!!
    Compliments Gary
    Gladys