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FRANKÉTIENNE’S CAPTIVATING AND DRAMATIC READINGS ARE COMBINED WITH SETTINGS DRAWN FROM DIFFERENT MUSICAL BACKGROUNDS

Frankétienne is one of the foremost literary figures in the Caribbean, with a career that spans half a century, since he founded the « Spiral » movement in the 1960s along with fellow Haitians René Philoctète and Jean-Claude Fignolé.

He has written 40 books, including the first ever novel in créole (Dezafi, 1975), and many plays and volumes of poetry. He has also created a very substantial body of work as a painter, and has performed in numerous plays and films. Unlike many of his contemporaries who left Haiti during the dictatorial regime of the Duvaliers, Frankétienne has always remained in Port-au-Prince, where he founded and ran a school while continuing his literary activities, mixing French and créole and developing linguistic and dramatic forms that enabled him to criticise the regime without overt attacks that would have been punished. « Rapjazz, Journal d’un Paria » (1999) is a tortured hymn to Port-au-Prince, his « schizophonic » hometown, with all its chaos and contradictions, its beauty and violence, its sounds and smells, its people.

Mark Mulholland is a guitarist, singer and songwriter from Glasgow, who has made numerous albums both solo and with bands including the Oul’ Bogwarriors, who were a loose collective of musicians living in Prague in the early ’90s, rock band Impure Thoughts and the Berlin-based country/folk group Two Dollar Bash, with whom he toured extensively around Europe and North America. After years of splitting his time between Berlin, Paris and other European cities, Mark moved to Haiti in 2010, where he has been working on youth music projects in a cultural centre in Port-au-Prince, as well as collaborating with established Haitian artists and continuing his musical activities in Europe during regular trips back there.

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Soon after his arrival in Port-au-Prince, Mark met Frankétienne, and their instant bond of friendship has led to several collaborations, including two prior spoken word and music performances, one of which, « Délires d’un Prédateur déchu », was produced as a DVD by the prize-winning Haitian film-maker Arnold Antonin. Antonin is currently making a documentary film about the life and work of Frankétienne, which will feature extracts from « Chaophonies » in the soundtrack. Frankétienne made a guest appearance on « Les Belles Promesses », a track on the album that Mark released in 2012 with fellow Scot Craig Ward, « Waiting for the Storm », which received superlative reviews in the British press, with the title featuring Frankétienne being singled out by The Telegraph as being « a remarkable and bold collaboration », and by the web magazine 6 Days from Tomorrow as « a strange and beautiful créole/celtic drama »

In their new recording, « Chaophonies », Frankétienne’s captivating and dramatic readings and occasional créole songs, are combined with settings drawn from different musical backgrounds – rock, blues, Celtic folk, musette…masterfully played by Mark Mulholland and the other musicians who appear on the album : Haitian percussionist Zikiki, Belgian double bassist Hannes d’Hoine and violinist Buni Lenski, French accordionist Olaf Hund and Scottish cellist Nicola Geddes.

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