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     Guy Durosier 
     Guy Durosier 
      August 19, 1999 
      Age 68  
 
Pulmonary Cancer 
    
    
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NY TIMES
        
 Guy Durosier, 68, Haitian Singer and Composer
               
     
          By GARRY PIERRE-PIERRE 

          Guy Durosier, a versatile Haitian singer and organist whom Edith 
          Piaf once called "the living breath of Haiti," died on Thursday at his 
          home in Bothell, a suburb of Seattle. He was 68.  

          The cause was complications from pulmonary cancer, said his son 
          Robert.  

          In a career more than 50 years long, Durosier also played the saxophone 
          and composed music. Like most Haitian musicians, he had an eclectic 
          style, ranging from big band sounds to Cuban music of the 50's.  

          His genre reached even those who left Haiti too young to have known his 
          music firsthand and those who were born in the United States to Haitian 
          parents. His cross-generational appeal was evident when Durosier 
          received a standing ovation after performing at Lincoln Center in June 
          1998 during a fund-raiser for the Haitian-American Alliance, a 
          community group based in Brooklyn. Reviewers said Durosier outshone 
          younger and more popular Haitian musicians like the singer Emeline 
          Michel and the guitarist Beethova Oba.  

          Born in Port-au-Prince, the capital, Durosier started performing at age 
          14. In 1947 he began playing the clarinet with the school band at St. 
          Louis de Gonzague School in Port-au-Prince. A few years later, he 
          began to play professionally when he caught the attention of Issa Saieh, 
          the maestro of the most famous orchestra in Haiti.  

          In the 1960's Durosier settled in Paris and was a regular performer at the 
          jazz club Mars, playing the saxophone, and was at the center of a 
          growing intellectual and artistic Haitian community in Paris. After Paris, 
          Durosier lived in Asia, then spent 15 years in Canada before settling in 
          the United States a decade ago.  

          He wrote scores of songs and many, like "Her Name Is Michaelle" and 
          "My Brunette," became hits. However, his image suffered from his close 
          alliance with Haitian dictators François (Papa Doc) Duvalier and his son, 
          Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier, who ruled from 1957 to 1986, when 
          the younger Duvalier fled to exile in France.  

          In 1971 Durosier gave a special tribute at the elder Duvalier's funeral. 
          "We thank thee François Duvalier for having given so much to us," 
          Durosier sang. "You are great and beautiful and just. Up there in the 
          skies you will watch over our Fatherland."  

          During an interview in November with the magazine Haitiens Aujourd'hui, 
          Durosier said that singing at the funeral was a matter of chance. A few 
          days after Durosier was invited to Haiti along with other celebrities like 
          Pelé and Muhammad Ali, he recounted, Duvalier died and he was asked 
          to sing at the funeral. Officials imposed the text of his song, he said.  

          "Today I have no regrets," he said in the interview. "I have one wish: That 
          my musical legacy continue to rehabilitate Haitian music in the world. I 
          would like to leave something valuable."  

          Durosier is survived by his wife, Marianne, and four children. A memorial 
          will be held in Bothell tomorrow. A concert tribute to Durosier will be 
          held at Brooklyn College in New York on Sunday. The tribute will bring 
          together musicians of his era like Joe Trouillot, Michel Pressoir, Egner 
          Guinard and Raoul Guillaume. 

 
 
     
  
    
  
 
 
 
       
 

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