The following was submitted for posting on the blog and sharing with you by Yanatha Desouvre – an interesting and heartwarming story indeed and a chance to contribute. Check it out….
“Nothing here is promised, not one day,” Lin-Manuel Miranda said during his emotional acceptance speech after winning a Tony Award for original score for his Broadway smash Hamilton. I strongly agree with Lin-Manuel Miranda. I also believe since we all only have just one life to live we must all live that life to the fullest, because the only guaranteed thing in life is death. This is a story of how a nephew/godson wants to honor the legacy of his musically gifted late uncle/godfather Daniel Coulanges who died at the young age of 28 years old. That nephew/godson is me.
The late Daniel Coulanges was a classical Haitian guitarist like his award winning world renowned, accomplished older brother Amos Coulanges. He is well known for his crossover works. Amos unites classical European music with popular Caribbean themes. Amos studied under Oscar Ghiglia in Italy and Javier Quevedo in Paris. He composed and recorded original music for films like “The Middle Passage, Biguine, Cherher la vie, The Man on the shore, and much more. Amos Coulanges album Fresques Caraibes is now available on iTunes, Google play and much more. Nito Coulanges, another musically inclined older brother of Daniel Coulanges, was the leader, lead vocalist and saxophonist of the first Haitian gospel band, Echo Mysteriuex, who toured steadily in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, Daniel Coulanges, my godfather, died at the young age of 28 of HIV/AIDS on April 30th, 1989, two years before Magic Johnson made his announcement, and never had an opportunity to share his talent with the world, until now.
During a random conversation with my uncle Amos Coulanges, he said, “Nephew, someone told me they have a recording of Daniel playing guitar at a college in Staten Island, New York.” He told me as soon as he gets it he’ll send me a copy. So the video traveled from New York to Paris to Miami, Florida. On my uncle Amos’s birthday April 26th, ten days after my birthday I received a gift I will never forget. I opened the international package and silence filled the room. When I put the DVD in my computer and with each guitar string my godfather plucked I cried and cried. My godfather was speaking directly to me with each note. I haven’t seen my godfather move in 27 years. He stayed with us in Brooklyn for a bit. Through my tears, I re-lived flashbacks of my godfather cutting my hair in the living room and with his love for speed, it was a blast when he would have picked us up from school. It appears, that the rare video recording of Daniel performing classical guitar at this college in Staten Island, might have been recorded not long before his death. My wife and I named our 2nd daughter Daniel after my godfather. She has his drive, ambition and sense of humor. I managed to extract the audio from the video performances. I plan to get the songs mastered and produced so we may share this sentimental musical and video project with the world titled, “Daniel Coulanges – World’s Finest – Live in New York” by next month, because that was how the host introduced my godfather.
“Daniel Coulanges: The World’s Finest” project was live on kickstarter however it fell short of being full funded. I now have it on Indiegogo. Pledges start as low as $1. Everyone who pledges at a certain level gets a reward from a handwritten thank you letter, to World’s Finest guitar clip, a digital and physical album, concert video, World’s Finest t-shirt, posters and much more. Once the $2700 goal is reached, I can get the album mastered and produce the album properly sharing my godfather’s talent with the world, since he died so young and never had a chance to.
Here is the link to the campaign: