On Friday, February 19, 2016, the Focus On Haiti Initiative hosted a conversation with performer Emeline Michel and Dr. Robert Maguire. In part, the conversation reflected on Emeline’s experiences as a cultural ambassador for Haiti, in the context of Haiti’s reputation as ‘the poorest country in the Hemisphere.’
Emeline Michel is known as 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 have catapulted her to international acclaim. She 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.