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Lumane Casimir

When one thinks about Haiti's Music History, and pioneers who really have gave Haiti a true unique musical identity. The first name that comes to  mind is me. 

I was born in 1920, in a very small town in Gonaives. Not much is known about my early age. My known history began at the age of 13, when a pianist discovered my talent, and encouraged me to pursue music. At the age of only 14, I left Gonaives, moved to Port-au-Prince with nothing but a guitar, questing my dreams. It was my first time ever in a new city. A new city where I had absolutely no friends nor family members. Port-au-Prince, the Capital of the Country with the highest annual tourist visits in the Caribbean, was full with opportunities. Haiti  led the Caribbean Tourism at the time.   302.000 tourists from all over the world visited Haiti on the summer of 1970. (  139.000 by air, 163.000 by sea)  But It didn't take me too long to realize that life in Port-au-Prince, was not as easy for a teenager as I initially had thought it would.  I began my singing career, in the streets of Port-au-Prince, singing for money to survive. 

Many, like the aforementioned pianist, immediately took notice of my incredible talent and my upsetting, yet charming voice.  Before I knew it, I was singing with some of the most famous bands in neighborhoods around the capital and some well known national ones. Bands such as The Legba Choir, a folk group; The National  Folkloric Troop, Le Jazz des Jeunes, one of the most famous band at the time, and so many more respected artists. A singer with a striking talent like me,  never takes long to get noticed. 

I established myself  as a true diva, representing very well the title "Emperatrice of Haitian Music" that will be conferred to , decades after my death, when I was chosen as the honorary singer to sing at the Country's 145th years Independence Celebration, in 1949, in front of thousands of spectators from all over Haiti and the world. 

Many dignitaries of many different countries, and tourists  from all over the world  were at the Champ-De-Mars  enjoying the ambiance; the grandiosity of this celebration. I charmed every one with my  voice, my presence and with the elegance of the poetic and patriotic lyrics of my songs. Prominent magazines such as Newsweek, called me  "The Queen of the Meringues" Meringue in general, not just Haitian Meringue. 

In 1951, I mysteriously withdrew myself completely from the public's eyes, at the height of my career. Never  to sing again. Leaving many, shocked, I went on to live in a tiny room in Port-au-Prince in poverty until I died a couple of years later, 1955, at the age of only 35. 

Many believe that because of my quick rise fame, I battled with alcohol abuse, and just abandoned my career to drink. But this is just speculation. The true cause of my sudden disappearance and  ultimate death, was tuberculosis. The illness was so severe that I could no longer sing, or even be in public. A couple of years after my death, I became barely a memory in the Country. My repertoire includes some of the most well known patriotic and cultural songs of Haiti. Such as: "Panama mwen Tonbe, Caroline Acau, La Rivyè Mwen Te ye,  Papa Gede Bèl Gason" 


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