Born: 1964 Primary Instrument: Guitar
When he first appeared on the Haitian musical scene at the beginning of the nineties, Beethova Obas was immediately considered as one of the most talented and inspired singer-songwriters of his generation. With his painful lyrics and sensuous melodies, Beethova Obas has forged an incisive blues which appeals to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Beethova Obas was born in 1964, interested in all Haitian musical genres, but also in jazz, Beethova Obas first made his name as a songwriter. Although he listened to compas, a sort of slow, typically Haitian meringue, he was also close to rasins (roots), the anti-government trend founded by Manno Charlemagne. In 1987, he teamed up with singer Emeline Michel, for whom he wrote, Plezi mize, a song which had a certain success. Following this, his younger brother Emmanuel won the Konkou Mizik contest with Lage L.
It was in dramatic circumstances that Beethova Obas gravitated from being solely a songwriter to singing his own songs. In 1987, as Manno Charlemagne was leaving home to go and record Nwel Anmé, a Christmas song some critical of the regime in power. A band of armed men shot him on his doorstep, wounding him badly. So Beethova recorded the song in his place. It was a huge hit. The following year, he was elected Best Young Singer by the jury of the Découverte RFI contest, whose president, Manu Dibango, was very impressed by this new voice on the Haitian music scene.
In 1990, now a well known artist in Haiti, Beethova released a cassette of his very first recordings, Le Chant de liberté. In July 91, during Martiniquan group, Malavoi's tour of Haiti, Beethova became friends with Paulo Rosine. The latter was very impressed by the young Haitian's talents and invited him to participate in the recording of their next album, Matebis, after which Beethova went on a triumphant Caribbean and French tour with the group. His collaboration with Malavoi put him on the international World Music scene and also enabled him to meet the people who were to help him produce his first album.
After his return to the relative calm of Haiti, came the putsch and the return to power of the military. Beethova Obas left to live in York York and Puerto Rico for a while. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a priest, was reinstated as president in 1994 and, on the same occasion, Manno Charlemagne came mayor of Port-au-Prince. Beethova returned home with an album ready for release and the same year brought out Si his second album but his first CD. It was enthusiastically received. He followed up this first CD with a second, Pa Prese released in 1997, this record was sung entirely in Creole except for two tracks in French.
Beethova’s record “Planet la” (The Globe.) was released in the summer of 1999, the track ‘Neg Kongo’ (Congo man) proved to be an instantaneous hit. Over the years, Beethova has joined the best musical entertainers on stage and contributed to numerous studio projects. On two occasions, the left-handed talented guitarist shared the podium with the exhilarating female vocalist from Cape Verde, Africa Cesaria Evora.
In 2000, after the concert at ‘Lincoln Center Festival,’ The New York Times proclaimed him “The most out-of-the-ordinary act on the bill.” The Paris St. Denis crowd greatly valued his participation of the ‘Banlieus Blues’ Jazz Festival in the fall 2001 highly praised his performance from his fifth CD ‘Planet la’ listed in the selective discography of the festival. His musical engagements became more frequent as audiences in Canada, France, Spain, Japan, Switzerland, Tunisia, Belgium, the United States and the French Antilles have with opened arms welcomed the multidimensional singer.
His 2003 CD “Ke’m Poze” (Mind at rest) strays towards a new inclination he entitles “CUBHABRA,” a symbiosis of Haitian rhythms mixed with Cuban flavor and jazzy Brazilian chords.
Self-assured on his forward march the singer with a peaceful demeanor removes barriers, crosses frontiers and makes null impossibilities without allowing success to swell his path. Touching hearts, fueling consciousness and elevating spirit the singer allows all to journey along. Fortunately even for ears with limited understanding of his language Beethova Obas serves as a trustworthy medium powerfully utilizing the universal language of music.