Port-au-Prince, Haiti—The most anticipated event of the year, the most talked about, had finally arrived. Alabanza in Haiti reunited after such a long time for the anniversary of Allelouia FM radio station. Radios were buzzing with the publicity. People were excited. I was excited. The concert was to be held on November 16th, at Karibe Convention Center, Route de Frère at 6 pm. Ticket price was $30 in US money.
After a week of anticipation, Sunday finally rolled by. It was 3 pm when my best friends/sisters (Daniella and Juline) and I decided to pick up our clothes for the event. After a few minutes of searching in our respective closets, we found the right dresses, shoes and bags. Then it was getting-ready time, and I was done just 2 minutes before 5. Knocked on my sisters doors to check up on them, and they were also ready. So, we waited for our ride. Minutes later, the Hyacinthe family showed up, and our journey to Karibe Convention Center started. When going to whatever events, it seems like time and movements are never fast enough. What takes minutes feels like an eternity!
As we rounded up into the Karibe entrance, the sight of cars were infinite. Oh boy! It’s a full house. Getting down of the car with the light shining straight on us, I could tell we were splendid. Daniella dressed in a beautiful sleeveless black dress and a high black with diamond rock stiletto shoes and a flawless makeup, followed by Juline with Gray silky skirt and top and red stiletto shoes also flawless makeup, and I dressed in black and blue dress with silver earing, bracelet, watch and shoes to match of course a flawless makeup. We looked and felt like superstars. Once inside, Daniella went to rejoin the protocol team and Juline, Mrs. Hyacinthe, her two beautiful daughters and I proceeded inside. The moment we stepped inside, the lights turned off. We made it just in time.
Standing on the stage acting as MC for the night was none other than the famous Myriam Charles. She started the night with “Notre Dieu reigne encore (Our GOD reign),” followed by the introduction of the judges. Apparently, awards were going to be given out as recognition to certain artists that had made an impact during this year. The panel of judges had been unknown to the public, till that night. After the introduction, it was followed by Nelson who sang “Bondye mwen bezwen ou kounya” (GOD I need you now), afterwards came the time for the award presentation.
The Allelouia award for the revelation of the years went to Palmira Seraphin. Unfortunately, she was not present, but her uncle, all so humble, was more than happy to accept it. Best album of the year went to the group “Yes.” Next was Stanley Georges, who gave a breathtaking opera performance which left the public in a trance.
Who did I notice up on stage with a bouquet of flowers, a smile on her face and a confident walk was none other than Daniella Pierre; she had to deliver flowers to the maestro of the best choir of the year award. That best choir being “Gospel Creole.” (I secretly recorded her as a surprise). The singer of the year award went to the person whose song I totally adore and none other than Pst. Jean Enock Louis. His song “tou piti devan w (insignificant in front of you)” has been a hit in Haiti. The song in itself is about humbling ourselves in front of GOD so that HE will be the one to exalt us. Once he was announced as the winner, the DJ played that song.
Can you imagine how the public reacted? We were in a loss for words, a thirst for humbling, our voices even echoed louder than the speakers. At that point on, there was no need for Pst. Jean to deliver his speech. Instead, he started singing; and we sang it till the end. Wow! Then we had the famous siblings Tami and Nicki Christ who delivered an awesome performance. Followed by the best song of the year which went to Roosevelt Jean Noel.
Right after came the stars of the night “ALABANZA.” First the maestro Carly gave a short introduction about GOD’s role in the creation of the group. As she was finishing, the members walked on stage. The women were dressed in black top and black mixed grey sparkling skirt. The men were in black. The first single they sang was “Emmanuel.” Followed by “Sonje Priye (Remember to pray).” When that song hit, I had to stand along with the public as well. I dance, jump and sang. Like they say in creole “mizik la mache nan san’m (the music boiled in my blood). Then the songs were as followed:
“Que serait ma vie sans toi (What would my life be without you)”
“Jezi se sovè la vie mwen (Jesus is the savior of my life).”
Maestro Carly honored his wife, by these words saying “if it weren’t for his wife diligence, he wouldn’t have made it this far and that his wife is truly his backbone.” He then introduced his daughter who is also a singer. She did an interpretation of a song authored by another member unable to come. The song was titled “Nan Ciel la (In heaven).” She sure has a beautiful voice. Then we had:
“Mache mache (walk walk)”
“Jezi ou met vini kounye a (Jesus you can come now)”
“Se paske (It is because)”
“anvan lontan (before long)”
“Bège’m (my sherperd)”
A short version of those songs were sung and not their full length. Carly was trying to see if the public knew all of Alabanza songs. If it was a quiz, well the public in general received a 100/100. As for me, I would say a 95/100 (wink).
As I stood there dancing away, Daniella came over took all of us and brought us to the front. Better view. By that time, I had lost count of the songs; I was just singing, laughing and dancing away; and taking pictures left and right. Then the moment of worship came. We all close our eyes, as the group led us. I could see people raising their hands in the air, crying out loud to GOD, whispering. Their expressions were serene. After having said our prayers, the crowd started demanding “Se la vi (it is life).” Se la vi is the number one popular hit of Alabanza. So you can see why they were demanding it. Pretending to ignore the demand of the public, Alabanza played a very short song and bam without expecting it “Se la vi” was played. The jumping, the dancing the screaming were all back.
After that amazing song, the event came to an end. It was time to see friends, take more pictures and joke around. Our little group even took a picture with maestro Carly and his family. I had the most amazing time. In my opinion, I would say it was a success. Allelouia FM did an amazing job. Truthfully, I am looking forward to more amazing concerts like that one. Hopefully, by the end of this year or next year we will see more of Alabanza.
Note: Claire Bijou is the charming young lady who reports from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Once again she wrote this awesome piece exclusively for CSMS Magazine. She lives and works in suburban Port-au-Prince. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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