Avèk ou menm kòmsi m santi m nan Paradi
Avèk ou menm pa gen pawòl mwen pa ka di
Avèk ou menm chagren kite lajwa kente
Avèk ou menm, avèk ou menm
—Michael LeMorin, “Avèk Ou Menm” from the album Li Di Mwen
Michael LeMorin composes his own songs—music and lyrics. He also arranges classics from diverse repertoires. Compositions and arrangements blend the colors, textures, and flavors of samba, bossa nova, reggae, salsa, twoubadou, and more in an ever so jazzy foundation. Topics ranging from romance to revolution speak to heart and soul in English, French, and Haitian Creole. Note the fluid shifts from one language to another, sometimes within one song. But note, too, how he brings the romance of French into Creole. Sample “Kite M Pran Men W.”
LeMorin works in a variety of musical configurations. He’s a veteran of Haitian konpa and Vodou jazz (a style that fuses jazz and the sacred sounds of Haitian Vodou). His Freedom Sound band produced its reggae-inflected Songs of Freedom in 1990. LeMorin studied with jazz guitarist Howard Morgan at the New School, and with arranger and producer Dernst Emile before releasing his next album, Pawòl. Meanwhile, he experimented live with the quintet format—usually guitar, sax, keyboard, bass, and drums, but with flexibility to satisfy each audience and venue. Sample “Fete Yaya.”
Most of the songs heard on the albums Songs of Freedom, Pawòl, and the newly released (in 2020) Li Di Mwen are original LeMorin compositions. The two most recent strive for a neo-twoubadou sound that leans heavily toward the Haiti-Brazil connection. But his live set lists also abound with such classics as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “No Agreement,” “Manhã de Carnaval,” “Mèsi Bondye,” and “Europa”. Each composition or arrangement, live or recorded, offers soaring improvisatory flights over jazz harmonies, plush to piquant. Sample “Flying Seagull.”
The title song of Michael LeMorin’s 2020 Li Di Mwen album evokes a conversation between the composer and Life. To echo the album notes, “The composer sits in contemplation until Life walks by, then asks, “Why do you make me suffer?” Life’s answer, to be discovered by all who listen to this album, articulates elegantly in the sonic vernacular of sweet melody, luscious harmony, and a heart-throbbing beat. Listen to a clip from the song “Li Di Mwen” on this page, then sample its companion album songs “Kite M Pran Men W” and “Fete Yaya.” Discover what Life tells the composer. Sample “Li Di Mwen.”
Listen to these songs from Pawòl.
“Don’t Wanna See” “Pito N Chanje” “Yoyo”
Sample more songs from the 2020 album Li Di Mwen here.
Featured image at the top of the page: detail of photo by Anya Petrova