I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on the 3rd day of September, 1958. A lady named Joanna Latortue married a man named Nexfort Moise: They became my mother and father.
I am the youngest of ten children. My mother adored me. She treated me like a prince. My siblings were not particularly thrilled about that.
“Ti moun gate” is the phrase Haitians use for children who are a tiny bit spoiled. I admit I was a “ti moun gate.” For this reason I did not enjoy an abundance of welcome from my brothers and sisters. When my parents were not home, my siblings would take the opportunity to let me know just how unhappy they were about my special status in the household. I was the one who came and took away their mother’s love and attention. Thankfully, this resentment lasted only through our childhood. As we grew older, our relationship improved. I know now that they love me dearly. And I love them unconditionally.
When did the arts first enter your life?
My love for the arts started when I was a child in Haiti. I was always around musicians and painters. Erve Normil and I were schoolmates at the College Canado-Haitien. I was greatly influenced by his work and philosophy. The forms, colors, and expressions captivated me. By the time I was introduced to Jacques Gabriel, Theard, Valcin, and many others in the field, I knew my life work would have to include art.
Another art form that has always interested me is music. My interaction with musicians transformed me into a melomane with a good ear for beats, sounds, variations, and different musical styles. Les Widmaier’s style was one that I appreciated immensely. There was also the Caribbean Sextet in Kenscoff with Boulo Valcourt and Gaggy Depestre whom I knew well. Music held the same charm as the visual arts. I knew it would have to be a part of my life work, as well.
How and when did Le P’Ti Club come into existence?
I started LE P’TI CLUB art, entertainment, and cultural organization with the support of a group of friends in the Miramar area. That was 10 years ago.
In the beginning, it was simply a gathering of friends at my house. We would hang out and discuss our interest in the different Caribbean communities. Soon, Le P’Ti Club began to grow. A few city officials took interest and became involved; that attracted even more people. Shortly thereafter, I became a part of the Miramar Cultural Arts Board.
I pushed for awareness and recognition of the arts, especially by our talented Haitian artists. It was not long before we became a force in the effort to move Haitian culture forward. Le P’ti club is no longer a house-based movement. We operate as a major talent promoting organization. We are strong advocates for Haitian artists. This brings a great deal of joy to my life.
You love music. You love the arts. What other loves fill your heart?
Love for my wife comes before the music and the arts. She comes before everything. I met her when I was just a young man. She had just returned to Haiti from her studies abroad. We fell in love automatically—on the first day that we met. In our language, we call that a ” kou de foud.” It’s been thirty years since our first meeting, and we love each other more now than ever.
Would you care to share any advice to couples trying to make it through their first 3 years?
Cherishing my wife does not make me some sort of expert on romance and love. However, if I were asked for advice on what makes a relationship work, I would say: Take time to get to know the love of your life. I’d say try as much as possible to be real and keep it real. No secrets. No lies. No deceptions. I’d say make necessary concessions to make the relationship work. Most importantly, be there to support each other in moments of weakness and joy. Be present.
Do you remember where you were when the massive earthquake struck?
I cannot forget that day. I was in Miami. A friend had called to tell me to watch CNN. I could not believe my eyes. I had traveled from Haiti only two months prior. The country I had left was full of hope for the future. I was devastated. My beloved Haiti had changed forever. So many lives were lost. The suffering and pain seemed endless. It was impossible to try and make a sense out of what I was seeing. It took a long time before I could process it.
Now that Haiti is in the process of rebuilding, what role do you see the arts playing in reconstruction?
The arts must play an important role in Haiti’s reconstruction projects. We are a nation of talented individuals. Our new Haiti should reflect our culture and folkloric ways of life. In addition, schools everywhere ought to offer some form of the arts to spark our children’s imagination. We need schools that can introduce all children to photography, painting, theater, creative writing. . . I could go on.
What projects are you working on now?
I am currently working with Robenson Jean-Baptise, a former drummer with renowned Haitian bands, Strings and Tabou Combo. This talented performer is currently touring in Miami and Haiti. This is a project I am very excited about. I look forward to helping him become of the greatest stories of 2012 in the Haitian music industry.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
I am most grateful to God for giving me a beautiful, understanding wife and two handsome sons. I pray everyday for their health. I pray that they continue to be as kind and compassionate towards others as they are now.
Any word of wisdom you’d like to leave us?
Humility and tolerance towards my brothers and sisters from all parts of the world are necessary. When we respect one another, work together hand and hand, most of our differences disappear.