Jean Gesner Henry
Jean Gesner Henry (Coupe Cloure), born May 10, 1925 in Leogane, is one of the most famous singers and band leaders in the history of Haitian music. In the late 40's he joined the Barcady Club, a first division soccer team, as a defender. In 1951, he co-founded Aigle-Noir Soccer Club with Dadadou, Dessalines, Marc-Elie, Edner Bataille, Feber Mews, and sonson Alert and won the championships that same year. His passion for soccer has never diminished his inclination to music.
In 1957, after his retirement from soccer, the guitar player Coupe Cloure co-founded Trio Crystal band. They played a "troubadour-like style "at clubs and parties . Later on, the band was renamedTrio select and released his first album in the late 60'. In the early1970, other musicians were added as the band was renamed Ensemble Select.
With a soulful voice, Coupe incorporated preaching style and storytelling into his songs. His beat is simply a synthesis of jazz, Haitian compas, Spanish meringue and folk rhythms. He is considered as one of the first musicians that has overtly tackled certain taboos in our society such as prostitution and homosexuality. Effortless, his melodious lyrics are laid over a very addictive rhythm. Women and love were the principal themes of his works. Reginald Larieux, a Haitian-American sax player claimed: "Coupe Cloure never really cultivated a generically beautiful voice". However, his personality, his image, and the aura he projects make the voice beautiful. The personality resonates so strongly that one can be hypnotized in a few seconds
He composed and sung many hits such as; Madan Marcel, Azoukinking, Collabore, Papa Loco, Fan'm Peyim Dous, Conseil, Suzette, Caroline, Bon Zanmi, Claudie. A few women have portrayed Coupe as a male chauvinist. And Ginette Lemoine Constantin, a first class feminist, went further to qualify him as misogynic for his constant attacks on women. For his daughter Esther, Coupe loves and respects women so much that he saw them as the center of universe and as his own center of gravity. Maybe, he was solely exposing facts that our puritan mind was trying to ignore. Gacon colon, a song in which he depicts some masculine flaws is a great piece of evidence that has really exonerated him. W all should agree that he was simply putting into art form his personal experience.
He has toured many countries in the globe: USA, Canada, Columbia and various African countries. In 1975, while touring in Africa, he was proclaimed musical king by local fans. The King Coupe died on January 29, 1998 and left more than 30 albums for posterity
- Paul Sanon -