Even though she is not new on the Haitian musical scene, I believe this is Rutshelle Guillaume’s first solo release entitled :”Rebelle”. If you are looking for a song on the CD entitled “Rebelle”, you will not find it, because there is known . The best explanation for this title is provided , not by a song in particular, but by the lyrics of the opening tune entitled : “Victorious”. Rutshelle Guillaume sets the tone right from the first lines of the lyrics: “Plus jamais, plus jamais de peur, plus jamais de pleurs. Je suis épuisée. C’est assez. Je n’ai pas à baisser les yeux, je n’ai rien volé. Je n’ai pas à baisser la tête, je n’ai pas triché. Yeux dans les yeux…Plus personne n’a le droit de me frapper, plus personne n’a le droit de m’humilier…je ne suis l’esclave de personne…. Je ne suis le bien de personne…. » ( Unofficial translation: “Never, no more fear ever, no more tears eve! I am tired. That’s enough. I do not have to look down, for, I did not steal anything. I do not have to hang my head down, I did not cheat. I will look at you straight in the eyes. No one will ever have the right to hit me; no one will ever have the right to humiliate me…I am no one’s slave…I am no one’s property…” This is the Rebel!
Given the topicality of the issue of the unprecedented vulgar, misogynistic and contemptuous behaviour of the artist Michel Martelly, aka “Sweet Micky”, who has been, shamelessly, among other things, denigrating women for some time now, those lyrics are like a breath of fresh air in such an atmosphere. Whatever the impact of this “declaration”, other artists cannot fail to take note and for the society at large, those lyrics should well become a motto against the disparagement of women such as that exemplified in Sweet Micky’s ignominious and disgraceful tirades and music. In that context, Rutshelle Guillaume’s “Victorious” could not be more appropriate.
On top of that, Rutshelle is supported by an impressive list of heavyweights of Haitian musicians like : Fabrice Rouzier on the piano, Dieuvenson Bon and Kéké Bélizaire on the guitar, Dadi Beaubrun on the bass and others. Quality in, quality out. The chorus does a wonderful job in providing beautiful harmony throughout the CD.
Another impressive feature of this CD is that Rutshelle Guillaume demonstrates great versatility by touching on different genres throughout the CD. Indeed, apart from the ballads, you hear some konpa, some twoubadou rhythm, some dance hall music, some calypso, some rara, some rythm and blues, some pop music. This is remarkable . Is it a way for her to refuse to be confined to a specific category of music? That may be so, and this would only be another manifestation of her rebelliousness. In any case, she is at ease in either genre, while at the same time singing in either Kreyòl, English, French or even some African language.
In the liners notes, Rutshelle describes herself as a “Rebelle bourrée d’émotions..” (A Rebel bustling with emotions”. Those emotions are heard and felt throughout the CD which enriches the musical archives of the new generation of Haitian female singers.
It should also be noted that the CD is richly enhanced by the participation on some songs, of renown Haitian singers like J. Perry and Michael Brun (Tune no. 4 “Pour les siècles”); Stichiz (tune No. 6 “Sekrè”); James Germain (tune no. 9 “Fèmen je w).
Hopefully, it will not be too long before she launches her second “aventure”, as Rutshelle Guillaume calls this CD; meanwhile enjoy this one, it is well worth it..
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti – February 2018
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