Student group brings Emeline Michel to Harvard

Emeline Michel performs at Harvard on Nov 18Emeline Michel performs at Harvard on Nov 18Nedgine Paul, a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), has admired Emeline Michel’s music since she was a child.

“My passion for raising awareness about Haiti included inviting friends and colleagues to attend Emeline’s performances,”
said Paul.

When HGSE for Haiti decided to organize the Haiti Arts and Awareness Event to commemorate the historic Battle of Vertieres, the last victory before the Haitian independence, they invited Emeline Michel to perform on Nov. 18. The core theme of the event was the Haitian motto L’Union Fait La Force, In Unity there is Strength.

“By opening the event to the Harvard-wide community, students and professors from local colleges, and universities,
and community members in the greater Boston area, the HGSE for Haiti team sought to provide an educational forum for people from diverse backgrounds, raise awareness about the impact of Haitian heritage, and the critical role of cultural understanding, as well as foster mutual learning between students, professors, and community members.”

The group connected with Michel when Paul realized that a colleague used to perform with Emeline’s guitarist. The guitarist connected Paul with Michel directly.

“We were so pleased when she expressed interest in our event goals and confirmed her willingness to travel to Cambridge to perform for the community,” said Paul.

Michel was also pleased to support the student group.

“It was such a pleasure to receive an invitation from young people, doing good work,” said Michel. “It reinvigorates me to see our young people carrying on the struggle. I feel that my legacy, our legacy is in good hands.”

Emeline Michel with members of HGSE for Haiti. Photo by Chris MarchEmeline Michel with members of HGSE for Haiti. Photo by Chris March
Michel just wrapped up the recording of her latest musical project, Quintessence, scheduled to be released in March. The album features performances from young musicians in Haiti.“These youth are so talented,” said Michel. “There’s so much talent
in Haiti. They blew me away. It was such a healing experience to work with them. This new album also features several of my favorite artists, musicians, and writers… like Edwidge Danticat.”

Michel says recording Quintessence in Haiti was one of the best musical experiences she has had.

“Working in Haiti, witnessing the beauty of the spirit of these young people is something I wish, I hope many others
can enjoy… There is a vibrant artistic, music scene.”

Michel is also working on a concert in Haiti for the new year, with zouk icon Jocelyne Beroard, of the acclaimed Kassav.

“She’s been one of my sisters in music, we came up around the same time,” said Michel. “This will be a memorable concert.”

Stay tuned to the Reporter for a review of Emeline Michel’s new album.