Coup Clou – Tibom
CoupÃ© ClouÃ©: The Haitian Footballer Turned Music Legend
CoupÃ© ClouÃ© was the stage name of Jean Gesner Henry, a Haitian musician who rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s. He was known for his unique style of compas music, which he called kompa mamba, and for his witty and sometimes risquÃ© lyrics. He was also a former footballer who played for the Port-au-Prince club Aigles Noirs.
In this article, we will explore the life and career of CoupÃ© ClouÃ©, one of Haiti’s most influential and popular artists.
CoupÃ© ClouÃ© was born on May 10, 1925, in LÃ©ogÃ¢ne, a town near Port-au-Prince. He received a classical music education and learned to play the guitar at a young age. He also worked as a cabinetmaker before becoming a professional footballer. He earned his nickname, which means “cut and nailed”, from his defensive skills on the field. He played for the Aigles Noirs club from 1948 to 1958, and was part of the national team that participated in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
He started his musical career in 1951, performing with various bands in Port-au-Prince. In 1957, he formed his own group, Trio Crystal, with another guitarist and a maraca player. They played traditional Haitian music such as mÃ©ringue and twoubadou. In the late 1960s, they released their first album, Plein Calle, which was well received by the public.
Rise to Fame
In the early 1970s, CoupÃ© ClouÃ© expanded his band to include more instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, bass, drums, and keyboard. He renamed his group Ensemble Select, and began to experiment with a new style of compas music that he called kompa mamba. This style was characterized by a faster tempo, a more syncopated rhythm, and a more prominent role for the guitar. CoupÃ© ClouÃ© also added more humor and innuendo to his lyrics, often addressing social issues such as poverty, politics, love, and sex.
Some of his most famous songs from this period include Map Di (I Said), Preacher (Preacher), L’Essentiel (The Essential), Cribiche (Crab), Gro Banbou (Big Bamboo), and Mon CompÃ¨ Ti Bom (My Friend Little Bomb). His songs were catchy, danceable, and provocative, and appealed to a wide audience in Haiti and abroad. He became one of the most popular and prolific artists in Haiti, releasing dozens of albums throughout his career.
In 1978, CoupÃ© ClouÃ© toured extensively in Africa, where he found much success and admiration. His music resonated with African audiences because of its similarities with soukous music, a genre of Congolese rumba that was popular at the time. He also incorporated elements of African music into his own style, such as using Swahili words and phrases. He earned the nickname Roi CoupÃ© (King CoupÃ©) in West Africa.
CoupÃ© ClouÃ© continued to perform and record until the late 1990s. He remained one of Haiti’s most prominent musicians, despite the political turmoil and social unrest that plagued the country during those years. He also influenced many younger artists who followed his footsteps in creating innovative and original compas music.
He died on January 29, 1998, at the age of 72, from complications of diabetes. He was mourned by thousands of fans who attended his funeral in Port-au-Prince. He was honored by the interim Minister of Culture as one of Haiti’s cultural icons.
CoupÃ© ClouÃ© left behind a legacy of music that is still celebrated and enjoyed today. His songs are considered classics of Haitian music history, and are often played at parties and festivals. His style of kompa mamba is still emulated by many compas bands today. He is remembered as a pioneer, a legend, and a king of Haitian music.