She is the reigning Queen of Haitian Song: a captivating performer, versatile vocalist and one of the premier Haitian songwriters of her generation. She has recorded and appeared on concert stages throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and North & South America for over 20 years. Singing both in French and Haitian Creole, her nine albums, Douvanjou ka leve (May the Sun Rise), Pa gen manti nan sa (There's No Doubt), Rhum & Flamme (Rum & Flame), Tout Mon Temps (All My Time), The Very Best, Ban'm pase (Let Me Pass), Cordes et Ame (Strings and Soul), Rasin Kreyol (Creole Roots), and Reine de Cour (Queen of Hearts) have catapulted her to international acclaim.
Emeline Michel is beloved by Haitians for combining traditional rhythms with social, political and inspirational content. She is a member of a unique generation of Haitian musicians that emerged in the late 1980's and also includes guitarist/vocalist Beethova Obas and the bands Boukman Eksperyans and Boukan Guinen. This wave of artists emphasized complex themes, conscious lyrics, and a broad palette of musical styles, including the native Haitian compas, twoubadou and rara.
Born in Gonaives, Haiti, her first experience in music was singing gospel music at the local church. After completing her education, Emeline accepted an opportunity to study at the Detroit Jazz Center and returned to Haiti as a professional musician. Emeline soon released her first album Douvanjou ka leve that featured the hit "Plezi Mize" (Pleasure in Misery) written by Beethova Obas.
Subsequent releases "Tankou melodie" (Like a Melody) and "Flanm" (Flame) established her as one of the top artists in Haiti and the French Antilles, and she was soon hailed as the "new goddess of Creole music." Relocating to France, she became a leading musical icon, performing at venues such as the Jazz Festival of Nice and Theatre de la Ville, making numerous appearances on French television and gracing the covers of many music and culture magazines.
From her new base in France, Emeline's work quickly spread throughout the French-speaking world, including Belgium, Africa, the French Antilles, French Guiana, Quebec, as well as Chile and Japan. The album Tout Mon Temps delivered her international smash hit "A-K-I-K-O." While set to an infectious dance groove, the song called for Haiti to look past the political turmoil that has long gripped the nation and to return to a time of innocence and joy.
After signing to a Montréal record label she enjoyed a high profile as one of the leading young female vocalists working in Québec and a regular act for Canadian festivals, radio and television. In 1996, she released the album Ban ‘m Pase, a CD that showcased her developing talents as a mature writer and producer. This huge-selling and influential release featured the international hits "Ban'm Pase" and "Mwen Bezwen" (I Need You), fully incorporated her jazz/blues/samba influences and secured her position as one of the leading songwriters in the Haitian Creole language.
After being signed with several record labels in France, Canada and the U.S., Emeline formed her own production company (Production Cheval De Feu) in 1999 to gain full control of her career and artistic vision. In 2000 Emeline released Cordes et Ame (Strings and Soul), a song-cycle centered on the theme of perseverance, featuring the sound of voice & acoustic guitars bathed in the ancient and modern rhythms of Haiti. Cordes et Ame became the fastest selling recording in Haiti and received Haiti's "Musique En Folie" citation for Best Haitian Album and Best Production for the year 2000.
In 2004, Emeline returned with Rasin Kreyol (Creole Roots) a powerful, mature album and tribute to Haitian traditional music. Incandescent rhythms, with poignant, soul stirring lyrics, the CD spawned major hits such as Banm La Jwa (Give Me Joy), Nasyon Soley (Sun Nation), Lom Kampe (When I Will Stand Up) and Beni Yo (Bless Them), which became an inspirational anthem to the Haitian nation during the violent political struggles in the middle of the decade.
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