Emerante Morse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Emerante de Pradines Morse
Emerante de Pradines

(1918-09-24)24 September 1918[1][2]:0:11
Died4 January 2018(2018-01-04) (aged 99)[3]
OccupationSinger, dancer and folklorist

Emerante Morse, also known as Emerante de Pradines Morse (born Emerante de Pradines; 24 September 1918 – 4 January 2018)[1][3][4] was a Haitian singer, dancer and folklorist, and the daughter of Haitian entertainer Auguste de Pradines (better known as Ti Candio or Kandjo).[5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Emerante's mother, Amarante Jean Pierre, implored Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite order, to give her a child, a baby girl, "promising that in return she would devote this child to the virgin saint."[1]:161 Emerante was born when her mother was "on vacation at Rivière Froid".[1]:163

Musical and dance career[edit]

De Pradines went to Washington, D.C. in 1941 as a featured singer and dancer in a troupe led by Lina Mathon-Blanchet.[8]:59 After her return to Haiti, de Pradines performed in a regular concert series at the Rex Theater in Port-au-Prince. She often sang renditions of traditional vodou songs, "then a novelty in Haitian social life".[8]:59

De Pradines sang Vodou songs in Creole on the radio when it was dangerous to do so,[9] and was the first Haitian singer to sign a recording contract with a record company.[10] She married Richard M. Morse, a Latin-American scholar and writer from the United States who she met while studying in New York with Martha Graham.[11] Her albums were released internationally, including by Smithsonian Folkways in the United States.[12]

At a young age, de Pradines was a student of Martha Graham. Between 1978 and 1981 Emerante de Pradines Morse taught dance classes in the Athletic Department of Stanford University. There, her students learned modern Graham technique as well as Haitian dance. Affectionately known by her Stanford students as Emy Morse, she choreographed several dance productions such as “Carnival!” for which she designed the costumes. Emerante De Pradines Morse made the costumes herself with the assistance of one of her students, Harvetta Silvarya Strozier, whom she taught how to make her designs out of fabric, raffia, ribbon, and other materials - without using purchased patterns.

At Stanford University, Emy Morse was the epitome of beauty and physical fitness. In her late fifties and early sixties, she showed her students how to do all of her warm-up dance steps and stretches as well as every choreographed step and routine whether simple or complex. She stressed the importance of elegant movement and demonstrated in minute detail how such was to be done.

Whether conducting a dance class, choreographing an extracurricular dance production, or observed elsewhere around the campus of Stanford University, Emerante De Pradines Morse always carried and expressed herself with the utmost grace and elegance.

Reception and later life[edit]

She and her husband had one daughter, Marise, and one son, Richard Auguste.[1] Her son, also known as Richard A. Morse, also became a musician and prominent public figure in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

De Pradines Morse was one of six women profiled in a documentary film by director Arnold Antonin entitled Six Exceptional Haitian Women (Six femmes d’exception).[13]:19[14] She was also the focus of a 2017 article in the Journal of Haitian Studies.[1]

One commentator wrote that "Given the time in Haitian social history when [Emerante de Pradines] chose to sang vodou songs, popular songs, she stands almost by herself in Haitian history."[15]


She died on 4 January 2018 at Saint-Esprit Hospital (Hôpital Saint-Esprit), rue Capois, Port-au-Prince, aged 99.[3] Her remains were cremated on 6 January after a private ceremony attended by relatives.[3] On February 3, 2018, a thanksgiving mass was held in her honor at Holy Trinity Cathedral.[16] At the mass, Emerante Morse's daughter in law Lunise Morse sang the traditional song "Carolina Caro",[17] a favorite of the deceased.[16] Emerante Morse was also remembered and celebrated for numerous philanthropic activities, including education of young people, founding the school La Ruche in Pelerin (Pétion-Ville), and supporting other institutions such as Octane Deslouches Martissant and other schools and cultural centers outside the capital.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Scherpf, Stephanie (2017). "Emerante de Pradines: The Birth of a Legend and the Making of a Tradition". Journal of Haitian Studies. 23 (1): 162–68. doi:10.1353/jhs.2017.0007. S2CID 171759944.
  2. ^ Haitian Women of History |Emerante de Pradines, Episode 9 (accessed 1 July 2017)
  3. ^ a b c d Malandre, Daphney Valsaint (8 January 2018). "Adieu Emerante de Pradines!". Le Nouvelliste (in French). Retrieved 10 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Décès de l'une des plus grandes danseuses du folklore vaudou haïtien". Loophaiti.com. Retrieved 10 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Richard Morse (2016). 'Pradines, Auguste Linstant de (“Kandjo” or “Candio”)' in Knight, Franklin W.; Gates, Henry Louis Jr., eds. (2016). Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro–Latin American Biography. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199935802. Retrieved 5 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link); ISBN 9780199935796 This biographical article states that Emerante's father Candio was born in Paris, France, on 10 September 1879.
  6. ^ Averill, Gage (1997). A day for the hunter, a day for the prey: Popular music and power in Haiti. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226032931.
  7. ^ "Chapo Ba: Emerante de Pradines". Kreyolicious. Retrieved 30 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Smith, Matthew J. (2009). Red & black in Haiti radicalism, conflict, and political change, 1934-1957. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807894156.
  9. ^ Grech, Dan. "Into Haiti's Heart: Richard Morse Finds His Roots". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved 30 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Morse code: The man behind the amazing Twitter updates from Haiti | Boston Haitian Reporter". bostonhaitian.com. Retrieved 31 July 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Romero, Simon. "Richard McGee Morse, 78, Latin America Expert". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Smithsonian Folkways. "Creole Songs of Haiti". Retrieved 30 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Hall, Michael R. (2012). Historical dictionary of Haiti. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810875494.
  14. ^ Anonymous (19 June 2017). "Six Exceptional Haitian Women". MEDIA PRAXIS: Integrating Media Theory, Practice and Politics. Retrieved 30 June 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Alzuphar, Adolf. "Haitian singer Emerantes De Pradines". zcomm.org. Retrieved 12 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ a b c Victorin, Chancy (5 February 2018). "Emerante de Pradines Morse, une messe en son honneur à Sainte-Trinité". Le Nouvelliste (in French). Retrieved 1 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Santos, Daniel (8 November 2014). "Carolina Caro (Conga Haitiana)". Youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 2 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]