Saturday, October 31, 2009

Z.A.M.A. CD 'Beautiful Haiti: Haitian Classical Music' by Jaegerhuber, Racine, Jean-Claude & Casseus

[Belle Ayiti: Mizik Savant Ayisyen (Beautiful Haiti: Haitian Classical Music); Zanmi Ansanm Mizik Ayisyen (Friends Together For Haitian Music). Cover Art: Painting by Haitian artist Ernst Toussaint. (75:29)]

The CD
Belle Ayiti: Mizik Savant Ayisyen (Beautiful Haiti: Haitian Classical Music) was recorded by a group called Z.A.M.A. Prof. Mary Procopio of Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan is a member . She plays the flute and is an ethnomusicologist. Mary tells us of her education, and identifies the composers on the recording: “[M]y masters is in ethno with a focus on Haiti, and my doctoral work was also on Haitian classical music, especially that which is inspired by traditional and ceremonial music.”

“The artists represented are Julio Racine, Werner Jaegerhuber, Martha Jean-Claude and Frantz Casseus. The majority of the works are by Jaegerhuber and two by Racine. Half of the CD is flute and piano with one solo flute work, the second half is for flute, viola and cello trio. The CDs are $20.00 plus $5.00 S & H, with 100% of the proceeds going for scholarship funds we started at several institutions in Haiti, and funds to bring five Haitian musicians here this winter for a four-month residency.” The CD
Belle Ayiti (75:29) is presently available from Mary Procopio,

Mary tells us: “The group, Z.A.M.A., consists of four musicians who met teaching at the St.Trinity Music Camp in Leogane, Haiti. We met in 2004, recorded half the CD in 2005 and the other half in 2007. It has been a fulfilling - but long - project! ZAMA stands for Zanmi Anmsanm pou Music Ayisyen--Friends Together for Haitian Music (or, another translation, Haitian Music Ensemble of Friends). The CD liner notes have detailed information about the composers, music and musicians.”

The liner notes of the CD tell us: “Rebecca Dirksen, piano, is working towards being a freelance applied-ethnomusicologist and is presently writing her post-graduate dissertation on Haitian music...” Ann Weaver, viola, received a Bachelor of Music degree from Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master of Music degree from Rice University. The liner notes say: “She is currently Principal Violist of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.” The notes say of Tom Clowes, cello, “Tom received his Bachelors of Music from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he studied with Janet Anthony.”

The liner notes also tell us about the composers:
“Werner Jaegerhuber (1900-1953) received his musical training at the Voight Conservatory in Germany.” “In his
Trio for flute, viola and cello, and Musique pour Aieules de J.F. Brierre, Jaegerhuber discreetly incorporates the melodies taken from several ceremonial songs – Dambala Oh, Solè Oh, and Erzili Oh – in the flute part of the first, second and third movements, respectively.”

“Julio Racine (b. 1945) studied composition at the University of Louisville and has written a number of orchestral and chamber works, including two major works for flute. He is the former director of the
Orchestre Philharmonique Saint Trinité and the Holy Trinity Trade School in Port-au-Prince and currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.” “Racine's Tangente au Yanvalou utilizes traditional rhythmic elements derived from the ceremonial music of Haitian Vodou. His Sonate Vodou Jazz utilizes melodies associated with Ezili and Dambala and rhythms taken from kongo, petwo and yanvalou, among others.”

“Martha Jean-Claude (1929-2001) was known as a soloist, singer and actor. Her first album,
Canciones de Haiti, was published in 1956.” “Having spent considerable time living in Cuba with her Cuban-born husband, Mme. Jean-Claude's 1995 album, Mwen se fanm 2 Peyi/Soy Mujer de Dos Islas, reflected her feelings and the importance of both countries to her.”

“Frantz Casseus (1915-1993), a guitarist and composer who was a student of Werner Jaegerhuber, was known for incorporating Haitian rhythms and melodies in his classical compositions. He moved to New York City in 1946, and recorded his
Haitian Suite for guitar in 1954 for Folkways Records.”

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