Photos by Manny Ardouin, Francois Adrien, Michel Vieux
By Max Zamor
Pikliz.com and Casa Campestre in Pembroke Pines once again served quite an attractive fare in the entertainment department last Saturday. First it seems that the audience is getting more attractive by leaps and bounds and this corner of Haitian hangout is becoming the favorite for music aficionados.
I double checked the ad announcing the entertainers and the time for the show: Somehow I did not get the note saying the whole thing will be one hour late. It didn't matter because while waiting I sat at the bar and slowly sipped a perfectly mixed "Mojito". That gave me the ideal perch to survey the idyllic seat for my auditory and visual delight.
As the room started to fill up, I could tell this was going to be a different evening: The audience was a little more mature than I'm used to seeing at Casa Campestre, but it was an elegant and attractive audience nonetheless. That was encouraging as the main attraction was the very young Nohemie Joanis. (More on her later). It did not take long for all to settle in anticipation of the advertised show.
A pleasant surprise was served in the poet of Jesler Mesidor who was the ultimate performer and host. The crowd at Casa Campestre was captured by his recital of poetry in French and Creole. No need for theatrics here: The words were flowing like water falling off a cliff. Effortlessly Mr. Mesidor had the audience captivated by the respect he showed in his performance. His show quieted the usually loud and unforgiving crowd. He brought the house down with an imitation of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide. One could sense his self assurance because the audience was laughing from his quips; sounding like the former President in tone was not bad either.
Mr. Mesidor was the perfect appetizer to serve this evening of fun and laugh.
Next on stage was the magician Fritzner Paul who bills himself as the magician for the children: I beg to differ from this characterization as before the show started, Mr. Paul roamed the tables and entertained the patrons with cards and money tricks that only a skilled magician can. For a skeptic like yours truly, I admit to have been dumbfounded by the quickness of his fingers. Then he took the stage to make an amalgam of animals appear and poof! They were gone. It's amazing how grownups can get mesmerized by a magician's tricks geared toward children. But when the entertainment is there, who cares. I found myself actually having a good time. Before we knew it, there were pigeons flapping their wings and rabbits curling their bleach white furs on the stage. There were two, three, four and more.
Mr. Paul was turning the tricks faster than we could keep track: Glitter was spilling out of his mouth. With the assistance of an audience member he was making objects appear and disappear. My favorite was the one where he blew bubbles and caught them as solid balls bouncing off the tiled floor. How did he do that? I'm not a magician or smart enough to guess if he tricked the audience or not, but we were totally entertained.
The evening took on a different texture when the young and beautiful Nohemie Joanis took the stage and sang a multitude of Haitian standards. We expected a lot from this up and coming talent. She did not fail to deliver. I especially enjoyed her rendition of Yoyo which every member of the audience was lip synching along. This young artist took command and demonstrated her range which was quite plentiful.
Her stage presence was evident so was her inexperience as she was obviously nervous in front of a friendly, yet relatively small crowd. She was backed up by a trio of capable musicians; however the sound quality could have been a little better. No need to splash blame here. Ms. Joanis would serve herself better in the future by insisting that a qualified sound technician takes care of this aspect of her performance. She was not helped when the bass and keyboard were drowning her voice. One can understand that Casa Campesre is a fine restaurant that is doing something wonderful by providing great entertainment in this corner of South Florida. However, the artists also have a responsibility to provide better sound for the audience to enjoy. When bad sound is mixed with the ever present rude customers who talk and laugh loudly during a performance, it only spoils an otherwise pleasant show for everyone else.
Back to Ms Joanis. She is obviously beautiful and should do well in the future. She has a good voice which holds much promise. She performs her songs not only from her voice but from her whole being. It is a sacred gift and a requirement when a singer is the embodiment of the song being sung: It draws the audience into the performance and keeps them there, entertained.
Ms. Joanis has a natural magnet and great stage presence. I can only say that she is young and has much to learn in order to profit from these assets. I hope her support is strong and consistent.
This evening was a presentation of www.pikliz.com which never fails to deliver great evenings of entertainment. I know there are many more young gifted Haitians out there. This not the first time that Casa Campestre and Pikliz.com have banded together to showcase them and give an outlet to these young Haitians to display their talent for all of us to enjoy. For too long, Haitian audiences have been shortchanged of good, clean entertainment. We know the talent is out there. If they keep performing, we should keep coming and lend our full support.