In keeping with tradition. Today is Music Tuesdays, where I will highlight a Haitian artist, band or song. I will attempt to cover all genres. Feel free to suggest any songs or artist that you would like to learn more about. I love discovering new to me music.
Beken, nee Jean-Prosper Deauphin is a renowned and extremely talented musician. His songs capture the heart and soul of the lives of many Haitians. His songs are often lamentations and self reflection on the state of his life. Common themes are poverty, education and even love. From my understanding, Beken sings and plays troubadour music. I always describe troubadour as Haiti's country music. Wistful singing accompanied by a guitar and sometimes other wood instruments. Beken has a very unique story from most. He was injured by a car in his youth and had to have his leg amputated. Beken was particularly popular in the 1980's and music street vendors quip that his music is especially popular when there are hurricanes and after the earthquake. Many Haitians can relate to his songs that speak of suffering, poverty and overall the misery that poor Haitians experience. Haitian music like many other cultures has many double entendres and is a lot deeper than what the song says on the surface.
I had the opportunity to see Beken live 5yrs ago on my first trip to Haiti. He was playing in my hometown of Jacmel. Although it was my first time hearing his music, I was enthralled. Listening to him is like feeling a wave of sadness fall over you. Every song just seems so rife with emotion. Here are some songs of his that I enjoy. Hope you do too.
Click on the song title and you will be taken to the Youtube video.
Fanm Se Kajou (Women are easily fixed):
He is instructing men how to treat women, and extolling their great characteristics. Men should treat them well and love them. Give them all their heart desires.
Lavi Beken (Beken's life):
He sings about all of the problems that he has. That he has resigned himself to the miserable life that he lives. He is nothing, he has no status. All he asks for now is for his father to buy him a casket so he can die.
Bel Konsey (Good Advice):
He tells his friends that as men they need to find a job and stop gallivanting throughout the streets and gossiping. As an adult he can instruct them on how to behave and live. He is not a healthy man yet he found a way to live, because he needs to eat.
What did you think of Beken?