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”Grann Dede”

Storytelling CD, by Charlot Lucien, 2007

Introduction: Lucien uses his keen sense of observation to turn out the most dramatic and the most hilarious stories, in which resilient Haitian women take a central role.  From machann fritay (frie dfood sellers) to retailers crisscrossing the Caribbean, and nurses-aides in Cambridge to remote historical figures, Lucien presents powerful composites of women who find themselves negotiating realities more complex than what their daily lives, their jobs or their trades seem to entail.

Madan Lefranc:

Carmen, a hard working nurses-aide in Boston, who is disillusioned with two prior relationships, decides to elope with Mr. Lefranc, a supposedly serious Haitian man she meets while traveling in Haiti. But surprise, Mr. Lefranc in a change of heart, refuses to move to Boston, claiming that his intellectual status prevents him from taking certain menial jobs that immigrants seem to perform in the US. Ultimately the true reasons behind Mr. Lefranc’s reluctance are revealed, leading Carmen to reassess what she really values in life and how she can truly fulfill her aspirations.

Grann Dede (CD main title)

Granma Dede builds a successful fried food trade in the suburb of Pétion-Ville, where rich clients congregate with their wives, their mistresses or their colleagues.  She also supports several children in the neighborhood, feeding them and helping their parents pay their school tuition. Grann Dede saves enough money and secures enough connections to send her son, Ti Fritz, to attend college in Montreal. In Montreal, Ti Fritz assimilates so perfectly that he stops writing his relatives, and even fails to visit his mother during a short trip in Haiti. An unexpected tragedy hits him hard, and leads him to reassess his relationship with his mother…

Madan Ayayay

When a political leader attempts to bribe some disfranchised youth from the slums of Gonaives, Haiti’s third main city, into burning tires and destroying a few houses to create political agitation, Madame Ayayay, a fried food seller, intervenes. She offers to the youth an extraordinary idea that sends the politician back to Port-au-Prince fuming and changes the lives of the children of Gonaives.

Marie Jeanne Lamartinière

In 1802, during an epic battle that saw 12,000 French troops surrounding 1,000 Haitian troops isolated in La Crête-à-Pierrot, a decrepit fortress on the top of a hill, a woman runs around, haranguing the Haitian troops and distributing food, powder and bullets. She was among the 600 survivors who would pierce the ranks of the French troops in an impossible escape that left several French generals dead or wounded and elicited the admiration of military strategists. “Marie Jeanne à la Crête-à-Pierrot tells her little known story.

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