Emeline Michel,
Rasin Kreyol
(Time Square, 2004)

This premiere Haitian songwriter and Queen of Haitian song has traveled the world appearing on five continents and has sung before the world's leaders, spreading the joy of Caribbean music and rhythm. Emeline Michel's most recent album, Rasin Kreyol (Creole Roots), is her eighth release.

Emeline performs in her native Haitian Creole language or French. Born in Gonaives, Haiti, she lives in New York City with her son. Along the way she has lived in France and Montreal.

Emeline began her musical career at a very young age, singing gospel music in church. By age 12 she was performing solos and at 18 she won a contest that brought her to the U.S. to study music for a year.

She is very proud of her Haitian heritage and being born in the first Black Republic -- Haiti is among the poorest nations in the northern hemisphere, and it is in the social and political commentary of the nation where Emeline focuses the subject of her songs. But she also takes advantage of the vast collection of rhythm and sounds of the Caribbean music in the area.

Rasin Kreyol is a musical journey of Haiti. The album is filled with the rhythms and sounds of Haitian music and a rich mixture of cultures from European French to the African Congo. As Emeline combines the old with the new by using traditional instruments and modern electronic instruments, so does she bridge the generation gap with the appearance of her young son on one of the albums' tracks.

An understanding of Emeline's lyrics is not required to enjoy the album, but for those who wish to know what she is singing a translation of the lyrics is included in the album's liner notes.

by Sherrill Fulghum
28 April 2007

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