Frantz Casseus (1915–1993)
Before Marc Ribot made a name for himself as a pioneering force in NYC's downtown music scene and as guitarist for luminaries like Tom Waits, Wilson Pickett and The Lounge Lizards, he began his guitar studies as a teenager with close family friend, the Father of Haitian classical guitar, Frantz Casséus. In 1946, Frantz came to NYC from his native Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the ambition to compose a distinctly Haitian classical guitar music, to fuse the European classical tradition with Haitian folk elements as Heitor Villa-Lobos had done with his native Brazil’s and as Béla Bartók had done with Hungarian folk songs. His three recordings, Haitian Folks Songs (1953), Haitian Dances (1954) and Haitiana (1969) were released on Folkway Recordings (and since reissued by Smithsonian Folkways) and his compositions have been covered by artists worldwide including the song “Merci bon dieu” by Harry Belafonte.
In effort to preserve Frantz’s musical legacy, Marc edited a collection of Casseus' solo guitar compositions, and performed those same pieces on his 1993 album Marc Ribot Plays Solo Guitar Works of Frantz Casseus.
Early 2014, newly found compositions discovered by Marc hidden in some old vinyl records he had inherited from Frantz was compiled and edited by Ribot and Alberto Mesirca and the complete collection, Frantz Casséus Guitar Works was released in spring by Zimmerman Verlag.
2015 marks the centennial of Frantz Casseus and in honor of his birth year, Marc will reissue his 1993 solo album as well as release a new album of Frantz’s vocal and guitar compositions.
FRANTZ CASSEUS YOUNG GUITARISTS PROGRAM
After Haiti was devastated by earthquake in 2010, Ribot founded the Frantz Casséus Young Guitarists Program in Port-Au-Prince. The program, run jointly by the Haitiana Music Company, Caracol and the Holy Trinity Music School, offers a haven for creativity and stability to low-income students.
Proceeds from all Frantz Casseus’ publishing goes directly towards the Guitar Program and to projects that will continue the legacy of Frantz.
To make a donation to the program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-Commemoration centenery of Frantz Casseus, Le National
-Benefit in celebration of Frantz Casseus centenary, Haiti Libre Dec 2015
-Feature interview in Classical Guitar Magazine, Spring 2015 issue
-Read the essay Marc wrote on Frantz Casseus for BOMB Magazine
-Frantz Casseus Young Guitarist Program in Haiti Libre
-Fundraiser Concert Preview for Frantz Casseus Guitar Program in Brooklyn Paper
DISCOGRAPHY & SCORES:
Frantz Casséus Guitar Works published by Zimmerman Verlag (2014)
CDs Available at Smithsonian Folkways:
Haitian Folks Songs (1953), Haitian Dances (1954) and Haitiana (1969)
12/6/2015 Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel - Haiti
Marc Ribot & Marco Cappelli celebrate the 100th Centennial of Frantz Casseus
a benefit concert for the Frantz Casseus Young Guitarists Program in Port-au-Prince
10/11/2015 Salle de concert du Conservatoire - Montreal, Canada
Marc plays the music of Frantz Casseus
3/26/2015 UNCHARTERED SERIES @ GREENWHICH HOUSE NYC:
EMELINE MICHEL & MARC RIBOT PERFORM FRANTZ CASSEUS
6/16/2014 ISSUE PROJECT ROOM NYC
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