As a singer, songwriter, political activist, and one-time Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Manno Charlemagne has been the vocal conscience of Haiti for over 30 years. A soulful yet brazen balladeer, he constantly challenged the status quo and used his acoustic guitar and tender baritone voice as weapons against brutal political regimes and the civilized indifference of the insulated upper-class.
Les Inedits de Manno Charlemagne is some of his most profound and provocative work. They are songs that for years were only performed in intimate settings, among close friends, and in front of those who were unafraid of how incendiary they coud be. For to have performed them in public during the 1970s or 80s, would have risked a great deal--arrest, harassment, and God only knows what else.
With their cunning lyrics, they are the songs that the powers that be in Haiti did not want the Haitian people to hear. Intended to stir up resistance and bring about much-needed change in the country, they spoke the truth about corrupt governments and ruthless politicians, gave voice to the peasant class in Haiti, and captured the rawness and injustice of life in this tiny Caribbean country.
Although they sounds like love songs to the non-Creole speaker, they are songs of protest aimed at the tools of oppression. And it is their unique juxtaposition of thorny words poured over gentle melodies that makes them so hauntingly beautiful.
Many of these songs have never been heard outside of Haiti. Nor have they ever before been recorded onto albums, tapes or CDs. They would have likely been lost or forgotten had they not been gathered in this very special limited edition collection.