Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Am Haitian & I Am Music

Culture never dies!

It continues on and even in the next generation and the generation after that, there seems to be a remnant of what was, left over.  Whether it be an accent, a way of thinking or living, practices, belief systems and even the music that we listen to. 

Like music! If you heard it in ancient times and it was sung at the churches and is recycled and still being sung at the churches or as a blues tune. And who doesn't love a good old Beethoven or Handel song that always seems so fresh and new when sung in church on Easter Sunday? Even though the makers of it might perish, their legacy continues on. And so we become one with their music and it grows like a flower in our hearts and stands up to the sun with a desire to be sprinkled with life.

As a woman who claims a Haitian background, I grew up listening to Haitian music all my life. I enjoy the sounds. I have always had a good time dancing to them. Even learned some of the lyrics and sang along to the beautiful sounds that would reverberate through the speakers. I even add them to my exercise Zumba flow so that when I'm dancing as exercise, I can sweat to tunes of who I am. I am Haitian and I am music!

I am Haitian because God enabled me to have such a wonderful background. I am music because God blessed with an amazing gift. And I accept both because both make me, Stephanay!

Wherever You Are, the Single
Now Available for Download
It’s funny! A few friends listening to a few of the tunes  created the music for and all said the same thing; they heard a Caribbean feel to the songs.  I never realized it until they pointed it out and that was without me even trying.
Download a copy of my song, “Wherever You Are” now on ITUNES here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wherever-you-are-single/id715065058 and tell me if you can hear it. I wrote the lyrics and created the track in my studio. Music seems almost embedded in me now because that is where my heart lies.  

Beautiful sounds like those found in Haitian music could be very much one of the reasons for my love of music. Do you ever just listen to the instrumental sounds and hear the horns and bass getting in groove together?  And some of the melodies are sick, they make you just want to listen and dance.

And then listeners just get that urge to put their hand on their stomach,
Legendary accordionist, Richard Duroseau
and Singer, Stephanay JNote

sway the hips and move their feet.  Who wouldn’t feel that way when listening to Compas music?

I had the opportunity to meet the legendary accordionist, Richard Duroseau, one of the original founders of compas music. I was invited to sing with an amazing group of jazz musicians, the Carl Bartlett Jr Quintet at Occasions Catering Hall in Springfield Gardens, NY and Duroseau was one of the many members of the audience.

Music knows no color, race or nationality. It touches hearts wherever and whenever. It is one of the most peaceful creations in the world. If it hits you, you can be healed from bruises sometimes. How powerful is that; a gift that can touch somebody’s heart?
 Like the gift that Conjunction International started back in 1955 with Compa Direk and that seemed to change the sound of Haitian music forever. We cannot forget to mention the other members of the group which included Nemours Jean-Baptiste, Montford Jean-Baptiste, Weber Sicot, Julienne Paul and the duroseau Brothers. A new style of popular Haitian Dance Music started and became known as Compas. And still lives on! Even today and for the long run.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Everything is Different at the Singer/Songwriter Open Mic at Sam Ash

I enjoy the platform that an open mic provides to a singer trying to test out his or her sound before an audience. Have you heard about the singer/songwriter open mic that goes on at Sam Ash?

Every Wednesday night afterwork at about 6:30 PM, each and every Sam Ash has an open mic dedicated to singers and songwriters. And so, singers and songwriters gather together, share their music and network.  So glad there is a Sam Ash in Brooklyn, NY which enables me to participate and also enter into their original music Instagram contest for a chance to win cash prizes.

I’ve had the opportunity to get down there and test the waters.  It’s not only a great experience but fun. Also, early enough for me to get down there after-work, do my thing and leave in time to make it to sing a few jazz tunes in Queens for Jazz with Attitude at the Manhattan Proper located at 21701 Linden Blvd in Cambria Heights for some live jazz hosted by Jeff Sheloff and Wayne Holmes at 8:30 PM. Wednesday nights are interesting nights for me because they are music filled to the fullest extent.

Here is a clip to the last singer/songwriter open mic event at Sam Ash that I was able to attend.  I performed my song, “Everything is Different Now” with the soundtrack. All lyrics were written by me Stephanie Jeannot. The music was created by Armand Collins and Stephanie Jeannot.

Thank you for stopping by my Blog.  Have an amazing day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Women's Weekend: On the Pink Carpet to the original Breakthrough

They called this weekend Women’s Weekend; the weekend that begins Friday, October 18th and takes you right on into Sunday, October 20th.

I guess that is appropriate considering some of the events I witnessed and/or took part of that began today and run throughout the weekend.
"Pink is the new Black" - Unknown

If you are from New York then you probably saw commercials or read an ad somewhere that let you know that this Sunday is the Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park. Actually it is breast cancer awareness month and the theme is go pink. 

Now everybody has heard about a red carpet.  You go somewhere fancy or watch a group of individuals on television being interviewed or photographed along a red carpet wearing something fancy and looking amazing. But have you heard about a pink carpet?  Well, more like a pink ribbon trail but beautiful idea and concept worth talking about.
I saw it today and it was so nice. In an effort to raise funds to add to the nearly $2,000,000 that has already been raised, a fundraiser was held and all roads leading to it was a carpet of pink ribbons; definitely a great touch and effort to make someone want to pull out a $1 or $2 to support a great cause because in actuality, we all want to kick cancer to the curb.

Celebration of Women at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church

This evening was the start of Women’s Weekend at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, and what a beautiful night. Praise dancing, choirs singing and Ladeez in the House doing a few tunes to help  make the event glorious.

But their celebration won’t stop there; they have a weekend of events planned all designed to empower her.  The Empower her weekend. I love the name they designated for their flow of events.  

And then we come to Sunday. A day to praise and celebrate God who makes all things possible. Also a day to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Central Park. 

Please be aware that there are walks for breast cancer and all types of cancer all over NYC that people do participate in. It was just two weeks ago when the Family Life Center in Queens had a walk for breast cancer and had folks walking in unity through the streets of Jamaica. This Sunday’s will not be any different. 

Millions of folks will gather at 72nd Street in Manhattan around 7AM and do five miles of walking in support of those suffering, those whose lives were taken and to help raise funds to eliminate cancer, period. Perhaps it is the biggest one in the NYC area.

Something to Consider

Here is something to consider. Five miles of walking will take under two hours of time in a busy day.  True, the day is busy, but this is two hours you dedicate not only to raise money for breast cancer, but to raise the wellness of thy own heart. Just 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day improves heart health. In five miles of walking, you get about three days worth of hearth health benefits. I'm an advocate for health and will always add something about fitness into the scheme of things. If this has motivated you anyway,  make sure you keep checking back for new blog posts.

So glad to have been blessed with the opportunity to do what I love to do most as part of the kick-off celebration for Women’s Week and it was awesome. 

Along with the band, Ladeez in the House, I got the opportunity to share my original song “Breakthrough” with everybody who was present at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church. Here is a youtube video of “Breakthrough” by Stephanie Jeannot featuring Ladeez in the House.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and if you did, leave me a message or comment and let me know. Peace and love!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They Called it Stormy, But Jazzy Mondays in Brooklyn

What better way to celebrate Music Monday then to emerge yourself in quality sounds? And, what better a borough of New York than Brooklyn to settle your heart in and allow the music to fill your soul?

This was definitely the case at For My Sweet, a cozy little jazz spot located at 1103 Fulton Street between Classon Avenue and Clover Place in Brooklyn. Lately, I have found myself desiring to hear and become involved in some of these jazz open mics and I found one not too far. Brooklyn is definitely a great spot to enjoy music and For My Sweet had just the amount of jazz my heart was craving.

If it is not the jazz paintings that are scattered all along the walls of this sophisticated oasis, it is the great lighting that creates a nice, intimate mood. I felt comfortable getting up there to sing one of my favorite Etta James tunes, “At Last” and how encouraging to see such a welcoming crowd of beautiful people.  To top it off, there were so many different  musicians, poets, true entertainers and also Ras Chemash Lamed who sounded just like Frank Sinatra. I will definitely be back there for of their upcoming open mic nights happening every first Monday of the month.

Or better yet, grab a friend or two and head down to For My Sweet next Monday, October 14, 2013 and catch some of the wonderful music that will be played by the CBJ Quartet from 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM.  It will definitely be a night worth being a part of.

Hopefully I will make it there before 7 so I can get into the pre-open mic portion of the night. Maybe we'll see each other there.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Revelation of Them Size 58 Pants Clothed Around Captain Bills

Today, I was blessed with the privilege of doing an event with the Ladeez in the House at Captain Bill’s located in the Bayshore area of New York’s Suffolk County, Long Island.

It is always a pleasure working with such wonderful talent like that of guitarist Debbie Knapper, drummer Lisette “Peechez” Armstrong, and bass player Deb Robinson and also saxophonist Gerald Rampersaud and keyboardist Wayne Holmes. Good music and great vibes on each and every occasion.

It was a performance that was Gospel based, celebrating the birthday of the pastor of Wyndach, NY’s Revelation Church, Pastor Simmons, and he had a nice crowd which included, members of his congregation, collegues, family and friends. 

 One of the songs which we often perform is a cover of Yolanda Adam’s “Open Up My Heart.” The song is very uplifting and delivers such a positive message; so blessed to have not only been able to minister through music but to have also been able to share my testimony of God leading me to dieting, exercising and losing a massive amount of weight in less than a year. It still amazes me to think about how far God has taken me from where I was to where I am. What amazed me even more though was a man who felt comfortable with sharing his testimony with me.

As much as 80lbs seems like a lot of weight to lose in nine months, Brother Al lost 120lbs from January 2013 to now, October 2013.  In January, Brother Al was wearing size 58 pants and was 367 lbs. How amazing is that?

Sometimes it baffles me to hear people complain and whine about not being able to lose weight? Is it because you can’t or that you are not trying?  Did you know that can’t is a curse word? When you say that you can’t do something, you actually deprive yourself of even trying. If you truly are making an effort, how much of your heart are you really dedicating to achieving something as amazing as Brother Al did?

I’ll just say this; if you are seeking to make a difference in your life and one of your goals includes weight loss and you think that dieting and exercise will not contribute to that desired end result, you are wrong.  However, what you should know is if you exercise alone without diet, you will not yield results. If you diet and not exercise, you actually might see some progress yet not as much as you'd expect. But together, you will yield your desires.  Weight loss does not require pills, surgery, extreme starvation methods or anything else that will not invite your victories into your life except for a prayer, faith and dedication to your own cause. So if you want it, get with it and let’s do what we need to do to be where we want  to be.