Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Beken: Haiti's Troubadour

Photo © Todd Heisler/The New York Times -All Rights Reserved

Here's a touching piece of multimedia that has Todd Heisler's fingerprints all over it. Heisler is the photographer of the "One in 8 Million" New York Times series that profiled 54 New Yorkers in weekly episodes from January 2009-January 2010.

Profiled in the same fashion is Beken, born Jean-Prosper Deauphin, who sings songs about despair and redemption that resonate deeply with Haitians, especially in its recent times of tragedy. Beken, who lost his right leg at a young age in a car accident, sings in Haiti’s troubadour tradition, and plays a guitar, connecting with his audience in songs of lament, humor and sometimes politics.

Singing The Suffering of Haiti is the title of the multimedia piece, and is narrated quite well by the author of the newspaper article, Simon Romero. Since I would have preferred a little less narration and more song, I would have used Beken's voice-over in Haitian, with the voice of a translator here and there. Notwithstanding, a well paced multimedia piece.

Haitian Singer and His Guitar Fight Urge to Weep is the article by Romero.