The album cover artwork was painted by Haitian-American artist Gina Samson and the liner notes were written by Dr. Claude Dauphin.
On Friday, October 23, 2020, cellist Diana Goldenreleases Tanbou Kache, an album that celebrates Haiti’s rich and fascinating art music traditions, on New Focus Recordings. Tanbou Kache (Hidden Drum) outlines the stylistic and chronological trajectory of key composers within this tradition from the 20th century to the present, painting an ever-changing, historical picture of the leading composers of the Haitian national school of classical composition. Recorded with pianist Shawn Chang, the album highlights Haitian cello and piano music by Jean “Rudy” Perrault, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Julio Racine, Carmen Brouard, Frantz Casséus, Werner Jaegerhuber, and Justin Élie. The album cover artwork was painted by Haitian-American artist Gina Samson and the liner notes were written by Dr. Claude Dauphin, a leading scholar of Haitian music.
In 2011, Golden began working for Open Access to Music Education for Children, a music center for Boston’s Haitian community run by Youth and Family Enrichment Services. While working with cello students who had left Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Golden found that learning music, including traditional Haitian folk songs, helped them adjust to their life changes and deal with trauma they had experienced. This experience inspired her nearly decade-long interest in Haitian art music. She taught at the École de Musique Dessaix-Baptiste in Jacmel, Haiti during the summer of 2012, and devoted her doctoral research at Rutgers University to the history of Haitian art music.
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Golden says, “Haiti has had a rich and fascinating tradition of art music creation for hundreds of years. Due to issues of preservation, publishing, and other factors, many works by Haitian composers are difficult to access and have not yet been performed or recorded. Shawn Chang and I created this album of Haitian music because we believe these compositional gems are worth hearing, these composers merit recognition, and because we hope that this album will further accessibility to this unique and fascinating repertoire, enabling exploration and enjoyment of it by scholars, performers, and listeners alike. The album’s title references the Vodou drum part accompanying traditional folk songs transcribed by composer and ethnographer Werner Jaegerhuber. Because Jaegerhuber inspired generations of Haitian composers, I was inspired to choose Tanbou Kache as the title for our album.”
Through his work with publisher Carl Fischer in the United States, and his concert tours of Haiti and the Caribbean, pianist and composer Justin Élie (1883 – 1931) became one of the most renowned Haitian musicians of his time. His use of indigenous Arawak themes and his interest in Haitian folk music showed his embrace of non-European musical aesthetics in crafting an authentic Haitian compositional voice. Élie’s compositions often evoked impressions of Haitian landscapes. When Élie moved to New York City in 1922, he tapped into American audiences’ interest in the exotic with works such as Danse Tropicale and Légende créole, the latter of which was originally composed for violin and piano and is based on the Haitian children’s song “Zonbi bann mannan.”
Composer Werner Jaegerhuber (1900 – 1953) left Haiti for a musical education and work opportunities in Germany as the U.S. occupation of Haiti began in 1915, but then returned to Haiti in 1937 to avoid persecution in Germany. His vast legacy includes inspiring ethnographers and ethnomusicologists by his transcriptions of Haitian folk melodies, becoming the first to study the musical structure and lyrics of Vodou songs, and destigmatizing traditional Vodou songs by incorporating them into instrumental art music. His establishment of the Pro Arte Society spurred a wave of Haitian chamber music compositions in the 1950s and provided performance opportunities for musicians, including European refugees to Haiti after World War II, such Albert Einstein’s cousin Richard Einstein. Jaegerhuber was also a dedicated educator, encouraging the next generation of composers to research and use folkloric melodies and rhythms in creating a Haitian national voice. His work with folkloric dance troupes and tourist shows promoted Haitian classical music’s international standing. Though many of his other compositions are folkloric or Neoclassical in style, Jaegerhuber’s Petite Suite in C minor is among his baroque-influenced compositions and was likely inspired by J.S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites. The Petite Suite was written for Robert Durand, a cellist from Les Cayes who became a pioneer of Haitian chamber music.https://df359d5ace5b327d8c79c25a85ecf5b9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
A renowned classical guitarist in the last third of the 20th century and a student of Jaegerhuber, Frantz Casséus (1915 – 1993) composed especially for the guitar. While he sought to show Haitian musical style through his compositions and performances, he was also interested in incorporating Caribbean, jazz, and European classical music into his works. As Casséus moved to New York City in 1946, he sought to capture the tastes of an international market. Casséus had a rare ease at inventing his own folklore thanks to his assimilation of Haiti’s folkloric musical language. In Suite haïtienne, Casséus’ invented melodies include “Fi nan bwa,” taken from his Haïtiennesques, and “Mèsi bon Dye,” which became a hit through its interpretation by Harry Belafonte accompanied by Casséus himself. Suite haïtienne, originally composed for solo guitar and arranged for cello and piano by Julio Racine, contains some of these invented folk tunes while bringing together a large number of pre-existing Haitian traditional motifs. The piece uses the cinquillo rhythm (or five syncopated beats in a duple meter) emblematic of the Haitian méringue.
A pianist, pedagogue, and leading composer within the Haitian diaspora, Carmen Brouard (1909 – 2005) was born in Port-au-Prince but relocated to Montreal in 1977. Brouard studied with Justin Élie as well as training in Paris, and was among the first generation of Haitian nationalist composers. She helped found the Société de recherche et de diffusion de la musique haïtienne, an archive in Montreal for the promotion and study of Haitian music. Brouard’s music is Romantic, folkloric, and rhythmic. The composer was inspired to portray impressions of Vodou rhythms by her memories of hearing drumming from Vodou ceremonies in the distance. In Duo Sentimental, clashing episodic sections portray the composer’s various cultural influences, from quintessentially Haitian pentatonic scales to the opening theme’s twelve-tone row hidden by tonal harmonizations. But by the end of the piece, the pentatonicism and twelve-tone rows are combined harmoniously at an “Amoroso” section, showing Brouard’s embrace of her own divergent cultural traditions.
Julio Racine (b. 1945) began his studies at the Conservatoire national de musique d’Haïti before furthering his education as a flutist and composer at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Upon returning to Haiti, he conducted the Orchestre philharmonique de Sainte Trinité for nearly 30 years. In 2013, Racine and co-author Karine Margron published their arrangements of Haitian folk songs for children, to document and share the heritage of Haitian music with future generations. Racine’s music is characterized by the development of Vodou rhythms, modal scales, and syncopated, jazzy harmonies and dissonances. These methods create an eclectic, modernist style in Racine’s works. This prolific composer is represented twice on this album: first, with Casséus’ Suite haïtienne which Racine arranged for cello and piano, and secondly, with his Sonate à Cynthia pour violoncelle et piano, a work dedicated to his daughter and inspired by imagining the choreography of local folk dancers.
In contrast to the other composers presented on Tanbou Kache, violinist, educator, and social activist Daniel Bernard Roumain (b. 1970) is the first composer from the national school of Haitian composition to be born in the United States. Roumain earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan. Besides serving as an Institute Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, he is a music industry leader through his work for the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the Sphinx Organization. Roumain’s spoken word, chamber, orchestral, choir, film, and opera compositions draw inspiration from civil rights themes and musical influences of hip hop, jazz, folk, Caribbean, and electronic music. He is also known for his large-scale music events in public spaces, including One Loss Plus, a multimedia work for violin, piano, electronics, and video from which Femiel derives. This 80-minute, meditative work explores loss.
Jean “Rudy” Perrault (b. 1961) is a Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he teaches violin, coaches chamber music, and conducts the orchestra. A composer within the Haitian tradition, Perrault also finds his inspiration in contemporary humanist movements. His piece Caged for flute and bass is dedicated to victims of dehumanization, and references George Floyd in its twelve-tone ordered spelling of pitches to include “GeorgEFloyD” and “CAGEFloyD.” His Brother Malcolm… for cello and piano paraphrases an imaginary conversation between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X on Barack Obama’s inauguration to the presidency. Still Around for solo cello is dedicated to cellist and composer Aleksander Tengesdal. The piece paraphrases Ruth Schmidt-Bauemler’s poem by the same name, as the order of pitches in the theme corresponds to their names-the French “Ré,” the Latin “Ut,” the German “H,” etc., forming a cryptogram spelling of the poet’s name: R-Ut-H, S-C-H, etc. The cryptogram is a nod to the spirit of the works on this CD, which all incorporate a subtly hidden Haitian dimension.
About Diana Golden
New York City-based cellist Diana Golden is a multidimensional artist who performs with chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, and musical theater and opera companies. Her expertise ranges from traditional to newly composed repertoire with a special focus on performing and writing about Haitian art music.
Highlights of recent performances include concerts with The Irish Tenors and Michael Bolton as well as regular engagements with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Distinguished Concerts International New York, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and as principal cellist with the Parlando ensemble. Golden has performed in prestigious venues throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, such as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, the Colburn School of Music, Symphony Space’s Bar Thalia, Spectrum NYC, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, the United Nations, Montreal’s Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec, and St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, UK. She is featured on concept albums for the musicals Song of Solomon and Platinum Girls by Andrew Beall, recorded on Broadway Records, and the YMCA commercial “The Y: One Number Different.”
An active chamber musician, Golden is a member of the Golden Williams Duo with violist Gregory Williams, which focuses on collaborations with living composers and has premiered works such as David Wolfson’s Mood Swings, Clarissa Baquiran’s ŜĮŃGKÏŁ, Leonor Falcon’s No. 1 and No. 2, and Michael Kosch’s Sassetta. Since its inception in 2016, Golden has been a member of the Red Door Chamber Players, a nine-member ensemble based on Long Island. She founded the Boston-based Firebrand Concert Series and performed and served as Artistic Director for three seasons.
As an educator, Golden has coached chamber music and taught private lessons for cellists of all levels and ages. She is the Founder and Director of the Red Door Chamber Partners Educational Program and a member of the cello faculty for Mountain Springs Music Festival in northern Utah. In 2011, Golden began working for Open Access to Music Education for Children, a music center for Boston’s Haitian community run by Youth and Family Enrichment Services. While working with cello students who had left Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Golden found that learning music, including traditional Haitian folk songs, helped them adjust to their life changes and deal with trauma they had experienced. This experience inspired her nearly decade-long interest in Haitian art music.
Her article “Staging the Nation Through Mizik Savant: Art Music of the Haitian Diaspora” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of The Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2. Along with Shawn Chang, she presented lecture recitals on Haitian music for cello and piano at the 5th Symposium of Caribbean Art Music held at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico and at Montreal’s Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec, hosted by the Société de recherche et de diffusion de la musique haïtienne. In 2012, Golden served as a Guest Teaching Artist for the summer program at the École de Musique Dessaix-Baptiste in Jacmel, Haiti.
Golden’s new album Tanbou Kache (Hidden Drum), out October 2020 on New Focus Recordings, highlights Haitian cello and piano music by Justin Élie, Werner Jaegerhuber, Frantz Casséus, Carmen Brouard, Julio Racine, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Jean “Rudy” Perrault. Recorded with pianist Shawn Chang, the album celebrates Haiti’s rich and fascinating tradition of art music and outlines the stylistic and chronological trajectory of key composers within this tradition from the 20th century to the present.
Golden holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Cello Performance from Rutgers University, where she completed her doctoral research on Haitian art music. She also holds a Master of Arts in Cello Performance with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Golden’s primary teachers were Jean Michel Fonteneau, Mark Kosower, Felix Schmidt, and Jonathan Spitz. Golden has also received instruction from renowned artists including Bernard Greenhouse, Colin Carr, Fred Sherry, Steven Doane, Alan Harris, Matt Haimovitz, Philip Mueller, and Sadao Harada. She was awarded a Hill and Hollow Artist Residency in 2013, John Baker Career Development Award, Sir Stapley Educational Trust Award, and a Bursary Award from the Royal Academy of Music. Learn more at www.goldencello.com.
About Shawn Chang
Lauded for his recent performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 that “emphasized the melodic, lyrical aspect of the work… It was a beautiful performance” (The Riverdale Press), Taiwanese-Canadian pianist and composer Shawn Chang has created an international career of distinction.
As a solo pianist, Chang has given recitals in high profile venues throughout the US, Canada, and his birthplace of Taipei, Taiwan, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the United Palace Theatre, Aspen’s Benedict Music Tent, the Nicholas Roerich Museum, Bohemian National Hall, June Havoc Theatre, and the Taipei National Music Hall. He is one of the 2020 Schwab Rising Stars of the Caramoor Music Festival in Katonah, New York. Chang recently appeared with pianist Steve Blier in a concert of Cuban music presented by the New York Festival of Song at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Lincoln Center. In October 2019, he appeared as a soloist with The Orchestra of The Bronx in a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor” and in 2018 was featured with the orchestra as soloist performing J.S. Bach’s keyboard concertos. Chang was the music director and arranger for Aya Aziz’s show Eh Dah? Questions for my Father (2016), which was a New York Musical Festival award winner. Chang performed with duo partner and cellist Diana Golden at Montreal’s Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec, hosted by the Société de recherche et de diffusion de la musique Haïtienne. As a collaborative pianist, Chang has worked for opera companies such as The Bronx Opera, the Garden State Opera, and OperaRox.
Chang holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore where he studied with Benjamin Pasternack and he is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Lydia Brown. Learn more at www.shawnchangcomposer.com.
Tanbou Kache Track List
1. Justin Élie – Légende créole transcribed for cello and piano [5:10]
Werner Jaegerhuber – Petite Suite in C minor for solo cello
2. I. [Prélude] [4:31]
3. II. Menuetto: Andante [3:30]
4. III. Allegro [3:39]
5. IV. Tema contrapunctistica [1:48]
Frantz Casséus [arr. Julio Racine] – Suite haïtienne for cello and piano
6. I. Petro [3:20]
7. II. Yanvalou [2:54]
8. III. Mascaron [5:08]
9. IV. Combite [2:14]
10. Carmen Brouard – Duo Sentimental for cello and piano [5:06]
Julio Racine – Sonate à Cynthia for cello and piano
11. I. Allegro Spirito [3:13]
12. II. Cantilena [4:07]
13. III. Allegro [3:19]
14. Daniel Bernard Roumain – Femiel from One Loss Plus transcribed for cello and piano [5:21]
15. Jean “Rudy” Perrault – Still Around for solo cello [5:22]
16. Jean “Rudy” Perrault – Brother Malcolm… for cello and piano [7:47]
Total Time: 66:30