Photos by Francois Adrien & Emmanuel Ardouin.
PIKLIZ.COM RETURNS TO CASA CHANPET IN FULL GLORY: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC AND CULTURE.
Narration by Max Zamor
Since the grand opening of Casa Chanpèt, there has been a promise made by management to bring to this new Haitian owned restaurant and bar, cultural activities in their communities never seen before by Haitians living abroad. From that first July weekend earlier this year, the owners, Max and Gerline, never failed to deliver. Last night, pikliz.com turned up the entertainment servings another notch.
It is usually expected that a pikliz.com's presentation to be full of talented artists and musicians. It was pikliz.com that brought us the beautiful Josmina Boisrond, the fresh vocals of Nohemie Joanis and musical legend Réginald Policard last year to Casa Campestre. For our enjoyment, Pikliz.com also brought us other talented artists and last night was no different.
It was evident this was going to be special. Although one can never totally quiet down an excited Haitian audience, there was unusual obedience when the attractive hostess, the poet/author Marjory Sheba requested some silence to start the presentations. Was it because the "lambi" tasted a little sweeter or the Merlot flowed more profusely? Whatever the reason, there was a jovial atmosphere never seen before at Casa Chanpèt. It was no wonder, for this time, pikliz.com dug into its bag of tricks to bring us for the first time at Casa Chanpèt, the talented jazz musician Mushy Widmaier and his band.
From the first sound, the audience was attuned to the melodious rhythms of this band as Haitian folk songs, expertly arranged by Mushy were being played with the subtlety worthy of a master. There was not one note to dial up indigestion: This was not your mother's Kreyol Jazz. The only missing ingredient, which would be the extra "piman" for some, was the languorous sounds of a Haitian drum. It didn't really matter that much. It was refreshing to listen to those songs without obvious references. One may never know where the inspiration comes from to arrive at such arrangements, but to the Haitian public, so familiar with these songs, it was an affirmation that they can also be played to and enjoyed by a much wider audience. But when "grenn zaboka sèvi zorye" filled the air, connoisseurs and novices alike absorbed it and were able to make their own references. It was an epiphany being performed on stage that gave inspiration; and it was soothing, despite a room full to capacity. There it was all night long. The fun became even more interesting when one of the songs blended into a heart stopping, feet stomping "rara", again, inspired from Hatian folk music. It is widely known that Haiti has a well full of under exploited folk songs. It seems that Mushy Widmaier and his band are well positioned to dig in and capitalize on this wealth. It takes vision and talent to accomplish this. We can only hope they continue on this path.
While Mushy Widmaier and his band took a breather, Jesler Mesidor, the raconteur/story teller/comedian took us on a journey of his observations of Haitians' understanding of language and social habits. If his writings are often compared to those of Maurice Sixto, his delivery is his own. Jesler kept the audience laughing with some of his stories published from his cds: He has two so far under his belt. He was rousingly funny and made for a complimentary appetizer to this evening of fun and music.
Pikliz.com didn't stop there. As if on cue, Jose Tavernier, the patriarch of Haitian crooners, took to the microphone and delivered his own version of a serenade. Even Josmina Boisrond, who was in the audience battling a cold, was cajoled to sing two Latin songs that rounded up this musical voyage on this night of culture.
It is worth noting that when Marjory Sheba announced that Haitian songstress Yanick Etienne will be performing at Casa Chanpet on December 4th, the audience erupted in applause; proof that Casa Chanpèt was on the right track to deliver outstanding talents to an audience deprived for too long.
One can only hope this audience does not become spoiled. To avoid that, Casa Chanpèt will need to at least maintain its tradition of being the beacon of good food and service. One thing is certain: Pikliz.com will continue to adorn its cultural and entertainment wing and help make Casa Chanpèt the preferred destination for Haitians, and non Haitians alike, from around the world.