By Moses St Louis and Robert Charlot
A giant kapok tree (mapou) has fallen in the Haitian Music Industry. We hear the echoes reverberating through the entire Haitian Community. Haitian percussionist, singer, composer, Compas music legend Daniel Lariviere has died at the age of 77 in New York. Most famous for his role in the legendary band Tropicana, he was right there in the middle of a cultural transition of Haitian music. Before becoming the nation's golden voice that many composer have supervened, including his son and the great Arly Lariviere of Nu Look, he was one the best percussionist of his time in nothern Haiti.
Added to his musical achievements, Lariviere was:
* Appointed as UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador
* Tropicana's lead singer
* An outstanding Composer/Arranger and Performer
* A great soccer player in his High School team (
* A great family man
With a prolific creativity, Daniel conceived several acclaimed solo albums. He has more than a couple of hundred musical creations to his credit, among which are the many mega hits with Orchestre Tropicana d'Haiti, most notably songs like "Sérénade des mélomanes, 24 décembre, Antonia, Angélique, Limonade, Mizè Malere, Yolande, Ti Jocelyne, Frère kote Papa, Erzulie, Noël, Doux Tropic, Ti Dady, and a ton of other hits. He was a prominent membe,r that greatly contributed to the rise to prominence of this group in the HMI ladder since the 70s.
His compositions will remain forever etched in our memories. Most of his compositions are based on real life stories and personal experiences, several of his lyrics contain jabs thrown at people who offended the society, and those who did him wrong, (metaphorical). In the meantime, more than a hundred of his master pieces are yet to be released. In the French Antilles, his first solo effort “serenades des mélomanes”, released in 1983 is one of the best-selling Haitian albums of all time, and the song is still, after 40 years, one of the most played in all events, from weddings, christenings, first communions parties to balls and more.
His life growing up.
As a teenager, around 1961-62, Daniel used to be spotted giving, out-of-the-ordinary conga performances for famous band “Jazz Caraibes”. During carnival time and open air festivals at the public park at the Notre Dame Church in Cap-Haitien, he gained acclaimed recognition and extensive popularity within the whole town of Cap Haïtien. In the late sixties after a short stint in the Mini Jazz “Diables Bleus”, he joined “Orchestre Tropicana”, a band created in 1963 that derived from the “Jazz Caraïbes”.
Mr. Larivierre was unflinchingly conscious of the responsibility of becoming an influential member of a band like Tropicana. He could feel the tremendous pressure in the shadow of the great Orchestre Septentrional.
Mr. Lariviere will also be remembered as a skilled soccer player for many years, who defended the colors of his high school “” during the inter-school championships as a goalkeeper. He later moved on to the left-back position for the professional team “Eclair du Cap Haïtien”.
Haiti has lost one of its true Legends. Mr. Lariviere songs touched many hearts. Haitian Music. His repertoire is very transcendental. When famous people die, people, praising occurs and sometimes people embellish their life story and their impact on society_ there is no need for, flattery, bombastic sentence. Lariviere flows as a river in the Haitian music industry. There’s even a better chance that some very good accomplishments were left out. The landscape of Haitian music would be much worse off if it wasn’t for Mr. Larivierre’s contributions. his passion for music, his countless hours in the studio, pouring his heart and motivations into each composition, leaving us with timeless music.
I assume many of you have heard some of Mr., Lariviere’s most famous compositions. And I wonder what your favorite is. How did those songs touch your own life story? Keep listening to those songs. Let them fill your heart and be kept as a present from Mr. Lariviere. They are immortal memories of him. His music did not end at his death. His passing is not the coda, nor the conclusion, his son Arly Lariviere will certainly keep the torch lit and the harmony flowing.
Our deepest sympathy to his family and relatives, especially his wife Suzelle J Lariviere, his daughters Daphney Lariviere, Cinthia Lariviere and his sons: Arly Larivière, the promoter David Larivière and Daniel junior Lariviere.