Archive: An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with Emeline Michel

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The iconic Emeline Michel joined HCX for our An n’ Pale| Café Conversation on a rainy December evening where over 80 guests gathered to hear about her life’s work. Emeline was calm and composed, exuding an air of familiarity and friendliness as Executive Director Régine M. Roumain and the audience posed questions about her progression from church choir singer to international Haitian songstress.

Describing an early life full of music, Emeline recounted the transition from singing in her local church to hearing herself on the radio. The audience seemed particularly interested in how Emeline understood herself as a celebrity in Haiti and its Diaspora while attaining such cross-over appeal.

“[You must] understand what you owe when you have a mind.” Emeline, in one profound moment offered her opinion on the source of her dynamism as a performer, citing the importance and power of what we put out there, particularly when one has the added weight of celebrity.

This is something Emeline most definitely abides by. As the conversation continued, she described the numerous projects that she has become involved in during her career. Two of these include using the arts to foster creativity for incarcerated women and at-risk youth.

Emeline was asked about her own path to success as not only a Haitian musician, but a female one at that. She understood her family’s support was critical to her achievements, as well opportunities to study and obtain the training she needed as a musician. Emeline’s advice to emerging musicians? Do the footwork, find out who is on the music scene, and understand who you are as a musician. “You don’t sing because it’s pretty, you sing because there’s something burning inside you.”

One distinctive marker of Michel’s career is her continued support of young and emerging artists entering the performing arts scene in Haiti. Michel has been working with a group of men and women through workshops at FOKAL and allowing these talented young vocalists to open for her concerts in Haiti. This presented another important aspect of building a career as a Haitian musician – sharing the limelight as a way to bring us all up together.

At the end of the conversation and animated Q & A session, Emeline graced us all with a few songs including her hit “Mèsi Lavi” from her latest album Quintessence and a touching tribute to the late leader and activist Nelson Mandela, “Beni Yo,” accompanied by the internationally-acclaimed guitarist Makarios Césair.

Purchase Emeline’s latest CD Quintessence on Itunes or Amazon.

Take a look at a few photos from the evening here.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014 at 5:52 pm and is filed under An n' Pale, Archive, Events, HCX Programs, Music, Public Forums. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.