We added the “LYRICS” page to our site. I have to let everybody know that 98 percent of my songs are written in Creole. I’m very excited about it. Well before the Creole was accepted as an official language in Haiti, my country, I have embraced it with a strong conviction. Moreover, I did not become a lawyer because of this. This is how it happened.
My grandfather, the late Lefort Ac. Valcourt was a very famous lawyer in Cap-Haitien, our hometown. He insisted that someone in our large family ought to be a lawyer so he could take over after he would be gone. Since I was his pseudo-secretary—I was typing all his legal documents from the age of 8 until my trip to the States, and was familiar somewhat with the terminology and (I have to brag a little bit) I was an A+ student, I was coached to become a lawyer.
During my second year at the Faculty of Law in my hometown, he took me to one of his trials. He represented the defendant, and another lawyer Françcois Magloire who was being coached by his partner François St-Fleur at this trial represented the plaintiff. My grandfather told the Judge, Mehu Garçon, in French to ask the plaintiff one question. The judge was in fact the translator for the parties.
As soon as I heard this, I felt a hole in my brain and I left the room on the spot.
Here were two Haitian citizens and they were neighbors. They knew each other. They had a dispute and they were in a court of law in their own country. Everyone in this court speaks the language they speak. However, the procedure by which their dispute ought to be resolved was being done in a language they do not speak and do not understand. Where was the logic? How in the hell the Haitian intelligentsia could let something like this happen?
Even today, knowledge is being used as a weapon in my country. The plight of our peasants has fallen on deaf ears not only of the politicians but also the intellectuals. This is also one major reason why I question the denomination of “musique savante” for Haitian classical music as if our popular music is not a “musique savante.” There exists this ferocious obsession among the elite to be different from the masses and to look down our peasants.
Rara is a ritual which starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Day. Every night, “Rara” bands would dance in the streets or in unpaved ways in the countryside. But, the “bourgeois” living in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, my country, would dance also on the streets and they call it –Le peuple s’amuse. As you can see, they say it in French.
I have never stopped smiling about that for the last 30 years. Sa yo pa vle wè, ya wè.
P.S. Having written more than one hundred songs, I would gradually update the “LYRICS” page.