Colloquium: “La lodyans haïtienne et son immortel lodyanseur: Maurice A. Sixto”


“La lodyans haïtienne et son immortel lodyanseur: Maurice A. Sixto” [Haitian lodyans and its immortal lodyanseur: Maurice A. Sixto] is a colloquium organized by the Centre Challenges, in partnership with JEBCA Éditions and coordinated by Professor Ethson Otilien. This conference aims to bring a multidisciplinary perspective to exchange ideas and to exchange ideas on theories of the human and social sciences in the study of the lodyans genre as Haitian identity narrative and the related work of the well-known Maurice Alfredo Sixto. The event will take place on April 20-21, 2018, in Port-au-Prince. [Exact location to be announced.]

Description: The lodyans is one of the most original Haitian creations. It has existed for more than two centuries and has never been the subject of in-depth studies. To date, no one has presented a doctoral thesis on the lodyans as narrative genre. Several writers, literary critics and theorists—such as Jacques S. Alexis in the second half of the 20th century—have tried briefly to shed light on this narrative practice. However, Alexis’s comments were so fleeting and metaphorical that they did not allow us to understand how it works. Meanwhile, the lodyans as a playful and subversive narrative activity has continued its merry way in the countryside as well as in urban areas. The most famous literary lodyanseur, Justin Lhérisson (who died in 1907), let us know from the introduction of his novel that he was going to tell a lodyans in the correct, Haitian way. Orally, Sixto (who died in 1984) was a genius. Most recently, Charlot Lucien, following Sixto’s footsteps, produced five albums of lodyans. [. . .] The lodyans is the most convenient narrative mode for a Haitian to recount life experiences, little anecdotes, and a relationship with the world with a joke, a funny trick, and scathing humor.

[. . .] It is important to make a call for more researchers to work on this oral practice, which has always played a role in strengthening / reinforcing family ties and building social bonds. Apart from its role in the transmission of collective memory, its deflected and subversive speech [played an important role] during delicate and/or dangerous political junctures.

[. . .] The second goal of this scientific event is to study the lodyansair work of Maurice Sixto. Maurice Alfredo Sixto (1919-1984) lived at a time when Haiti experienced the infamous occupation of the United States, political instability, struggles for power, colorist propaganda, the dictatorships of the Duvaliers, and other deep societal crises. He accumulated many life experiences before settling in the wonderful world of the Haitian lodyans, which he used a springboard for the awakening of social conscience. This lawyer by training was, in turn, a journalist, a tour guide, and a French language teacher who, moreover, had mastered English and Spanish. This multitalented man left many successful works in Creole and French. Afflicted by blindness, he created, memorized, and played all his pieces himself, also performing all the characters’ roles. The best-known of his works are Ti Sentaniz; Léa Kokoyé; Gwo Moso; Mèt Zabèlbòk Bèrachat, le jeune agronome; and J’ai vengé la race. His lodyans pieces echo the voices, the sorrows, the bitterness, the anger, the cries of indignation, the disappointments, the distress and vicissitudes of the people of his time, people caught up in daily difficulties. [. . .]

[Translated by Ivette Romero. Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] For the full French original, see

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