Anacreon, lyrical poet of wine and of revelry (one of Ancient Greece’s nine greatest poets), how would you have regarded the songs of Boulo Valcourt at the Five Myles Gallery in New York City, a city that is a daughter of your beloved Greek civilization? Like you playing your lyre, he played us songs of love and of a good time on his guitar, and one political song ‘La Pesonn, O’ with elegance and humour.
You would have loved it as much as we all did. His guitar playing, as if a modern lyre, made the most of the event’s audience, if not everyone, swaying along to the sound of Boulo’s baritone voice. What’s best is that it was summer and that all were seated outside the gallery, on the sidewalk. Though we heard cars honk and other street noises, it’s as if they all went along with the troubadour’s songs. Boulo was also accompanied by an electronic piano for some of his performance.
The song of the night was ‘La Pesonn’, a song written by a poet Syto Cave in the 1980’s that unintentionally became a Haitian political song. Boulo is a great singer of political songs such as ‘Pe Hilel Monte Sou Lotel’, a song banned under Haiti’s Duvalier dictatorship. Though we didn’t hear him sing ‘Pe Hilel Monte Sou Lotel’, ‘La Pesonn’ was more than enough.
The event was put on by the Haitian Cultural Exchange, named Pwezi Ak Mizik Anba Tonèl. The event featured the poets alongside Boulo Valcourt, one of Haiti’s best musicians. Boulo fit the bill perfectly: he is a poetic troubadour who has sung and played his guitar in poetic bands (Ibo Combo, Caribbean Sextet.)