In Memory of Jean Michel Daudier
© 2013 Max Zamor
He walked in the room and introduced himself: “Hi, I am Jean Michel,” he said. At first I didn’t recognize him. I’ve never met him before. The image of him I had in my mind and saw in pictures, was that of a young lad basking in the success of his hit song ”Lè’m Pa WèSolèy La.” However, so many years later, he ripened to a seasoned performer, popping up all over South Florida serenading revelers and spreading the sounds of Haitian music.
I remember the book signing was light in attendance. As writer Marjory Sheba read from her poetry book “Shebafied,”Jean Michel sat and patiently listened, as if the words brought instant inspiration for a new tune. After the reading, he invited the guests to hear a song he had just written. He disappeared downstairs to retrieve what I thought would be a portable music player. A few minutes later, he reemerged, his guitar in hand, ready to pluck and sing. He was relaxed with a smile constantly spread on his face. He started to sing as he played the guitar, not like the seasoned performer, but a friend with a genuine desire to bring his sprinkle of joy to this purely organic moment. His hit song “La Vie Se Sa” never sounded so beautiful andunpretentious.
That is who he was: a gentle man, radiating with humility and love for his countrymen. He was a talented songwriter and musicianbeaming with pride of his heritage. He was born in Les Cayes, Haiti, and never missed an opportunity to say so. He was a melodious voice of reason among the political and social cacophony. With his music, he raised the consciousness of the aitiHaitian people. That is a legacy few will achieve.
His death brings heavy heart to those who knew him or were familiar with his music. To his family, I send my deepest sympathies. He will be sorely missed.