Sounds of Haiti take on an auspicious nectar. There is an aura of freedom in the air, which makes the air, of a particular sweetness. One can’t help, but to understand it, unless you travel to that land. Until then, and should you choose to make that journey, you simply have to imagine it through the songs and voices of those, who once painted it with their words. That’s pretty much a general synopsis of what you have to do. Its why music is so sacred. Its why the music, birthed from a particular nation has to be protected and safeguarded, in order that its authenticity, and reflections of those who have come before, remains, true! Sometimes things become part of that. Of course, certain singers have that talent and power to perform, and portray those particular scents, within the air; within a certain domain, in Earth’s spacing. They have that agility and ability, to see nature’s sounds, invisible sounds, rhythms, and powers in music; channeling them into their own vocal abilities, and then presenting them into the atmosphere. That’s the genius of certain singers and performers. They understand, and comprehend, that level of artistry and aesthetics. In fact, their talent, vocal mastery, and depth is so intrinsic, that from the very moment they begin to sing, you know where they are from. Either that, or you gain a level of yearning to travel to the culture of their birthing. That’s the level of richness and depth, of their vocal persuasion.
Why is it that some singers have it and others don’t? Well, perhaps, its the very essence of land. How connected are they to the land? How has their musicianship and vocal artistry been intertwined with the land? Land, my Darlings, makes all the difference. It truly does! So, now we journey to another land-one whose her/history painted freedom’s tastes into the air, the soil, the trees, and the very waters surrounding it. In this land, there was a symbolic eloquence of profound yearning and desire to remember what came before. Knowing that certain current circumstances, did not have to be. That the inner fire and desire for freedom would transform the current system in such a way, that the spices of freedom, would be tasted and nourished, in the air. In fact, freedom would be the standard. It would be the transition from enslavement to freedom, where musicality and the Universal sound (within this particular geographic spacing), would be cultivated, and renewed.
The nation is known as Haiti! From the very moment of its inception, til’ this very day forward, you know the name from its moment of being spoken. If you don’t you come to find out, very soon! However, it doesn’t stop there. Upon hearing the very name of this nation, another inquiry must be made. Where is the music? What is the music, and who are the performers of it? Now, we are getting somewhere.
Some are here. Others have passed on. Nevertheless, what was the blueprint of Haitian music, dance, and the performing arts, that was left behind? Furthermore, who were the ones that left it? Now, that’s a holistic and beautiful awakening, worthy for immersion.
There are a number of Haitian, musical legends to be analyzed and discussed. Many of the great ones have already transitioned on. That’s life! The significant question, however, is, what did they leave behind? For one Haitian Mother image (and pioneer), what she left behind was a force of placing Haiti’s image into the international scene. Producing and creating, in order that Haiti’s connection to Heavenly artistry be rewarded and acknowledged in front of the entire world. One Haitian, musical mother made sure that happened. Her name is. . .
Emerante Des Pradines Morse
Its not a surprise that she produced greatness, for she had from one definition of greatness, itself. Her father was the legendary Auguste de Pradines. Being a prominent composer and musicians, he traveled around to clubs , parties, and other performance spaces of Haiti; showcasing himself as a “Haitian troubador.” He made his mark, and left it for his daughter to retrieve it, and extend it, further. Emerante Des Pradines Morse was born in an area, known as Riviere Froide. From French, it translates as the “cold river.” Hmmm. . .Now, things become more clear. Now, her expansion of Haitian music and culture is symbolic of the flowing of a river, from which she came. Its evident that such was the strength, and force, behind her musical ambassadorship.
Of course, we can do an entire analysis pertaining to the whole scope of her career. And yet, there is one song, which radiates the very essence of what it means to be Haitian. It is called Legba Na Console! The song translates as “Legba, We Console Ourselves!” The question is, who is Legba? Now, that is a question, which deserves to be told. It is a term in Haitian, Vodou, spirituality, who is a Spirit protecting the realms of “communication, speech, and understanding.” It is through “Papa Legba,” where decisions are made, concerning, who is allowed to speak to the Spiritual realm. Furthermore, it is belived that Legba is able to communicate in all languages, surrounding human existence. So, what is this song?
For starters, this song has been grown and nourished from the soil of Haitian hope, folklore, spiritual traditions, culinary, dance, rituals, and the sacred guardianship of memory. That’s the very beauty in the creation of this song. You cannot help, but to envision vegetation of the land dancing and swaying, when the song comes on. One cannot help, but to do so. It feels too good, not to move. The story is too rich to stand still. A wealth of stories come alive, through this song. And, we can’t help, but to seek out these stories.
They are the stories of mourning. Tales of losing one’s child, during a horrid time in Haiti’s her/history. There are those stories of Haitian mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and aunts cleaning the blood of their department loved ones. Seek out the stories of gathering-when the enslaved decided, that change would come. Listen to the language of Haitian Creole, and allow it to guide you to a time, when speaking it on the wrong territory, meant death. Don’t forget about the Haitian tales of romance, family, tradition, and love of one’s land. Smell the scents of Haitian cooking, and the nourishment of those Haitian grandmothers remembering time’s recipe, for culinary fruition. Go to the land, and permit every component of the sensory to force you into the stories. Glide your fingers into the soil, and allow memory to titillate into your Soul. Then, and only then, will you hear the, song!
Out of respect for the song, the language, and overall meaning, there will be no literally translation into the English language. More work and research is necessary in order to ensure that the most authentic presentation of the song is being provided for current, and future, readers. Nevertheless, what it does provide us with is the power and nourishment to assess the meaning of Haitian culture to “Papa Legbe,” and what it means to “console oneself.” What does it mean to move into another world of healing, where one finds the strength and determination to heal from whatever pains and sufferings that life has exposed us to? For this particular article, it is better to stay in the realm of what it means to heal oneself, while being in the comforts of the spiritual realm. There are things which have to be acknowledged and addressed should we be willing to open ourselves to comfort, and self-restoration, while under the direction of the spiritual world. That is the initial opener in the process of being consoled. A willingness to be healed; acknowledging that things are not alright. Finally, there is also the power of understanding the roles of a greater power, than of our own doing. Yet, there is one question, which appears unanswered. Why is Emerante de Prandines Morse conveying that we are “consoling ourselves?” Simultaneously, what must also be addressed is the possibility of hidden meanings, or word play, in the song. Are we really alone in the consoling process?
Then again, we have to return to the spiritual sector in Haiti. Does the spiritual world always hold our hand, during times of grief, or when needing to be consoled? Or, are there times when the ancestors, remove themselves, for a time, giving us the opportunity to finding our own strength. That is an excellent question, should we move to ponder upon this very thought. One of the things needing to be addressed is the art of being alone, in our healing. Sometimes, it feels as if a greater power is absent. In our humanity, we feel enraged, abandoned, upset and neglected. Yet, that is far from true. Sometimes, the Spiritual world steps to the side, in order to provide us with that opportunity to for self-reflection. Finding our inner strength and power; and therefore, be co-creators in our own healing. There are those times when we need to feel alone, in order to experience the wellness of finding that manner of comfort. After all, its well worth it.
Now, that we have reflected on the personal, how about we direct our eyes to a grander scheme, on a national platform. Haiti! What is going on? What is happening in the precious Haiti? What are her struggles? Where are her pains? What are her joys and concerns for the future of Haitian youth? That’s a beautiful realm to explore because within many problems, lay a wealth of answers. Since her independence, Haiti has faced her many obstacles; and faced them daily, with courage. I speak of the common people. Those individuals who re-channel, and re-energize Haitian nutrients of life, in order to channel hope, in the face of difficulties. They are the living proof of magical-realism; the ability to manifest Universal wonder and aesthetics, despite the many hands, which are given to her.
“Legba Na Console” leaves many meanings. It is uncontrollable because contrary to the popular belief, humanity does not control everything. We can never truly control everything. We only think we do! So, listen. Listen to what needs to be done. Listen to the pain, and acknowledge what needs to be addressed. Be open to understanding on what is needed for help. Surrender. Open. Be Alone. And when the time is right, Heaven will send the necessary help, when you awake to your inner strength, for consoling!