In the music of Marthély, who is not Michel, there is an invitation to an awareness that echoes. Sorry, I’m not going to tell you about “Yon ti moral”. I invite you to discover the essence of three of the most beautiful interpretations of Jean Phlippe Marthély, who, for years, brought his touch to the albums of the group Kassav, and moved several thousand fans around the world.
Since February 28, 2020, Jean Philippe Martelly has been recovering. He no longer jumps on stage to make his audience enjoy, after having suffered a stroke. This does not detract from its gallons of stars in the West Indies and in several other corners of the world.
Behind the successful and more festive titles that we all know like: “Bèl kreyati”, “San ayen”, “Si se taw” or “Kobay”, which could well illustrate the history of Haiti, this country which has everything and nothing like “San ayen ki pa bon, se gren diri kafè sa. Yo pa janm satisfè de sa bondje ka banou…”, it is necessary to analyze this repertoire in depth.
Unpublished words and popular wisdom complement each other. The analysis of these texts offer a beautiful lesson in literature and universal sociology, and why in the history of Haiti, this land which has so many “Bèl kreyati” in its flora and fauna, inhabited by this people who wrested its independence by force as in “Si se taw pran y”. A country practically used as “Kobay” on the international scene.
In the “Tropical Jungle” that the famous late “Master Dji” hosted on Tropic FM radio waves in time, I learned to discover “Zouk” music during my childhood. A chance, now reinforced by my training, my continuous research and my passion for Caribbean culture from several angles.
Let’s discover, once and for all, these three master pieces by Jean Philippe Marthély, which are essential in a moment of introspection, reflection and prospecting on life, on the future, and our desire to live a more dignified life, in a world less orphaned by well-being, less insensitive and indifferent to the fate of Haiti.
Titles like: “Mistè la vi a”, “Lapriè doulè” and “Imajine” are to be revisited by all music lovers and zouk enthusiasts in Haiti. With family, friends or at work, these inspiring messages, carried by sweet melodies, do not leave our emotions indifferent. All philosophies of life, or human existence find a place on board these motorcycles, sorry, these “audio” offered by Marthély.
In a duet made with his late friend Patrick Saint-Eloi, who left in September 2010, Jean Philippe Marthély gives us a philosophical pearl. “Sa se mistè la vi a” is timeless music. Quite simply because it addresses the essential. Which is not above all to be loved, but to be connected with reality, this truth that escapes more than one.
In the 80s, this song fell to us from the sky. The elements of nature are presented between the sky, the sea, the trees, the animals, the sun and the day, the moon and the night. Marthély exposes the social picture with its two extremes between wealth and poverty, between those who laugh and those who cry. Marthely questions herself and asks: “Poutchi tou sa? “, while recalling that:” Manman nou tout se fanm. Ni menm san, nou tout ni menm mannyè..”, while ironically: “E swa dizan lòm entèlijan? “.
In Patrick Saint-Eloi’s reply, the latter specifies: “Lè w byen gade. Nou pa ni tout solisyon ak lavi. », « Nou pa ka kontrole all the sitiyasyon. », « Despite the syans e menm ka evolye… ».
Faced with these observations, the song concludes with the refrain: “Sa se mistè lavi a, ke pèsòn pe ke konprann…. “. Marthély returns with a profound observation: “Mwen ka gade pitit mwen ki asiz anlè manma’y. », « E mwen ka mande kò mwen sa demen ke pote bay….? “. How many Haitian parents are wondering what the future will hold for their children growing up in Haiti?
In the second composition, released in 1992, about ten years later, ‘La priè doulè’, accompanied by a promotional video, was present on the airwaves of television stations in Haiti at the time.
“De rèv ki ka capsizes lè nou te hope. », « Promès ki pa ka tchenbe, san nou sav pou tchi… », « De nouvèl ki nou pate ke janmen reaprann. », « E nou sav ki fo trè byen nou tann yo an jou. », these are the words that inaugurate this flagship song, which open several doors on our melancholy, nostalgic or prophetic daily lives.
Describing the painting without too much love, in a form of variation, Marthély persists and signs: ‘Nou tann klòch legliz sonnen, on chen koumanse plere.’, ‘Yon gwo papiyon tou nwa vini poze an kay la.’, ‘Kisa. …?’ “All zwazo rete sings, jou a pèdi koulè. “. Which Haitian is not challenged by these forms of symbolic or mystical representations? “A dan yon kout van syèl ble a ki nan fon tchè nou…. », « An loraj tristès vini dechire solèy lajwa nou….. ».
In “La priyè doulè”, it is the dark emotions of all families from here and elsewhere, which are celebrated in a form of spiritual questioning, poetic and symbolic interpretation.
In the third piece proposed in our selection, Marthély simply invites us to “Imajine”. What a wonderful world should be, while inviting the actors to an individual and collective awareness.
In a confident tone, Marthély borrows the costume of a pastor to preach: “An nou imajine on mond mèveye”, “On mond kè nou te kreye epi eki lanmou”, “Adann pe ke ni plas pou tout sa ki move… “, “Pe ke ni paspò pou tout sa ki enmen zam”, “Fo pa nou oublie sa bondje te di…”, “Si ou ouvri tchè ou pouw koute sa, alò lespwa ke la…”.
The chorus definitely challenges: “Piti fò reflechi, reflechi byen. Find good chimen an. An bout li, ni lavi! “. A song dating from 1983, forty years later, which is still current, in the so cruel duel which nourishes the drama of the Haitian families.
In an invitation to make peace in the four corners of the world, Jean Philippe Marthély rings the bell in this song forgotten in the rankings, and yet it reminds us: “Lavi te pli bèl. Se te ke yonn a lòt. Pa te ke ni ladjè (war)”. The message is there: Piti fò reflected, reflected byen. Find good chimen an. An bout li, ni lavi…. “.
Such songs will certainly not die in the collective memory. So fertile is the text, the music is deep, even more than three to four decades later. Such artists, in the twilight of their lives, like Jean Philippe Marthély, among many others who make up the repertoire of West Indian music, deserve all the honors, after having showered us with so much happiness.
Let’s say thank you to the music of our Caribbean brothers, who, while drawing inspiration from the Compas, have built a place of choice in the planetary music industry. To Jean Phlippe Marthély, now limited in his movements, but who had had the chance to share moments of glory in Haitian music, through several great projects, and unforgettable performances with Tabou Combo, in ‘Baissez bas’, we say thank you. For these three pearls, these three classic pieces. Which I invite you all to rediscover….