HARLEM STAGE PRESENTS EMELINE MICHEL’S
QUINTESSENCE: THE HEALING VOICES OF HAITI MARCH 8-9
Two-night Engagement Showcases New Music from the Reigning Haitian
Queen of Song With Several of Haiti’s Great, Uplifting Voices
Haitian singer Emeline Michel celebrates the release of her latest CD, Quintessence, which has been five years in the making, with a glorious display of Creole soul March 8 and 9 at Harlem Stage. Two Haitian writers of note featured on the new recording will perform alongside Michel: novelist Edwidge Danticat and legendary storyteller Jean-Claude Martineau will read their poetry and recite stories about the power of their nation’s spirit, backed by a 12-piece band. Classically-trained Haitian tenor James Germain also shares the spotlight, displaying fresh and unexpected aspects of Haiti’s diverse culture.
Ms. Michel – whose indelible presence gained wide exposure during 2010’s “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” telethon – has cultivated a vibrant career as a Haitian musical ambassador. Dubbed “the Joni Mitchell of Haiti” for her astute musical poetry, she’s seen as a source of inspiration by her fellow Haitians at home and abroad, compatriots whose land has been challenged by natural disaster and political turmoil but blessed with a rich culture that has been infused by an indomitable spirit and hope.
Brimming with traditional Haitian rhythms but also featuring her unique and spirited musical creations in the traditions of folk and acoustic jazz, Quintessence is filled with a yearning for, and memories of, Ms. Michel’s homeland.
The performances will aim to translate the direct emotion and organic collaboration from the studio to the stage. “I’ll be inviting the audience to share in the chemistry, mutual respect and passion for country that the artists share,” says Ms. Michel, adding that Harlem Stage is the best place she could think of to launch her new CD. “It’s such a nurturing, loving place for artists, and when I’m at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse I embrace it like it’s my own home.”
Harlem Stage’s director of programming Brad Learmonth said, “Emeline is a unique and very special performer. She’s been part of our artistic family for several years and we’re delighted she’s chosen to launch her latest project with us. From our 2010 post-earthquake summer concert Konbit Pou Ayiti (Working Together for Haiti) to the development of Makandal, an opera centered on the life of the legendary Haitian revolutionary that premieres next year, we are committed to using our programs to support Haiti and raise awareness of its rich culture.”
TICKETS: Tickets for each performance, which begins at 7:30pm, are $35 and available by phone at (212)281-9240 and online at www.harlemstage.org.
ABOUT HARLEM STAGE
Over 30 years Harlem Stage has become one of the nation’s leading arts organizations, achieving this distinction through the commissioning and presenting of challenging, relevant and topical performances by artists of color and bringing them to socially conscious audiences in the communities it serves. Harlem Stage has a long-standing tradition of supporting such artists — around the corner and across the globe — including legends such as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri and Tito Puente, as well as contemporary artists like Bill T. Jones, Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd, Tania León, Carl Hancock Rux, Nora Chipaumire and Jason Moran. Its education programs each year provide 10,000 New York City children with access to a world of diverse cultures through the performing arts. In 2006, Harlem Stage opened -the landmarked, award-winning Harlem Stage Gatehouse – in an abandoned space that was once the source of fresh water flowing to New York City, and is now a vital source of creativity, ideas and culture.
Quintessence Tour Calendar
March 8th and 9th -Harlem Stage, Quintessence (Cd release show)
150 Convent Ave, New York, NY
March 21rst- Karibe Convetion Center Haiti, Quintessence (Cd release show) Ville De Pétion-Ville, Ouest, Haiti
March 22nd -Fokal Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty
March 24th -Moca Cafe Miami Cd release party/show,
738 NE 125th Street, Miami, FL
April 12th- Space 57 (fundraiser for Haiti Projects), 200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA
April 19th- Big night in little Haiti, 212 NE 59 Terrace, Miami, Florida
April 26th -Carnegie Hall musical connection (educational program),
881 7th Avenue, New York, NY
May 10th- Haiti Cultural Exchange Film fest Opening Night Reception
May 11th – Casa Seabra (fundraiser for ADED), 255 Jefferson St. Newark, NJ
May 18th Haitian Compas Festival, Bayfront Park Amphitheater Miami, Floirda
June 8th-Creole TV-NYC 3rd Annual Spring Gala, Mirelle’s
170 Post Ave, Westbury, NY
July 21st -Hotel Adria (fundraiser for Holy Family Church),
221-17 Northern Blvd, Bayside, NY
The Haitian songstress unveils ‘Quintessence’ at
the Harlem Stage Gatehouse March 8-9
Frequently referred to as “the Joni Mitchell of Haiti,”
singer/songwriter/dancer Emeline Michel is a highly regarded daughter of contemporary Haitian music. Her enormous popularity with lovers of Creole and compas (an upbeat meringue native to Haiti) at Haitian music festivals from Miami to Montreal can be heard and felt in the combustible roar of applause for the veteran singer’s riveting performances of what she calls “Haitian soul and roots.”
Born in Haiti’s “City of Independence,” Gonaïves, Emeline sang gospel in her neighborhood church and studied music at the Detroit Jazz Center in Michigan before returning home and releasing six albums with guitarist/vocalist Beethova Obas. (These include her first hit song in Haiti, “Plezi Mize” [“Pleasure in Misery”] and “A.K.I.K.O.,” the first international dance hit she dropped after relocating to France in the ’90s.)
Like her famous musical counterparts Boukman Experience, Emeline sings in French and her native Creole, taking listeners on a journey of Haitian resilience through song. On Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9, lucky NYC fans will be able to witness the iconic singer join storytelling forces with renowned Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat and beloved griots/vocalists James Germain and Jean-Claude Martineau for Emeline Michel Quintessence: The Healing Voices of Haiti. This rare appearance at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse celebrates the release of Emeline’s latest album, Quintessence, a highly anticipated album of socially conscious Creole pop five years in the making. – Sun Singleton