ThrowBack: Interview with James Phebe of Posse X Regarding the Death of Ginou Mondesir

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Originallly Posted Date: Sun, 14 May 2006 13:22:33 EDT

 

Cheyna: Hi, James! How are you doing?

James: I’m fine.

 

Cheyna: And your son?

 

James: Well, Jameson is doing fine now. He’s been here in Florida with me since February.
But in the beginning he wasn’t doing too well. He is still in disbelief about his mother’s passing. Some times he has hard time sleeping.

 

Cheyna: Do you talk to him about what has occurred.

 

James: Yes! We talk about her all the time.

 

Cheyna: How about yourself, how do you deal with what happened?

 

James: Ginou was the love of my life and she still is. It’s hard to lose someone you love so much.

 

Cheyna: If she was the love of your life why weren’t you two together, how did she ever get to meet Jean Valdo the man who would later take her life?

 

James: Let me explain to you the story of me and Ginou. Ginou and I met through her brother who was at the time my best friend. For three years I used to go to his house but I never met Ginou. One day she was sitting on her front porch writing “Chansonette Francaisse”. I asked her name. She told me and from that point on I fell in love with her. At the time she had a boyfriend and refused to give me the time of day. For a whole year I pursued her to no avail. Lucky for me her boyfriend at the time left Haiti for the US and she never heard from him again and that’s when she finally gave me a chance.

 

Cheyna: How old were the two of you at the time?

 

James: We were 16. We started dating and one day she called me to ask me to run away with her because she was pregnant. I told her no. I loved her and I saw no need for us to run away. I suggested that I brought my parents to her parents for a sit down where I can ask for her hands in marriage.

 

Cheyna: How did that go?

James: My uncle took me. At first they thought it was my uncle but after we sorted that out, her mother gave her a choice to choose between her and me. She told her mother she loved her but she loved me too and she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. Her mother told us she would not allow us to get married because we were too young but she would take care of the baby while both of us continue on with our schooling and later on we can get married.

 

Cheyna: Why weren’t the two of you ever married?

 

James: We went back to school but later on I decided to pursue a music career. That’s when I formed Original Rap Staff. We were very successful. We had a song “Bagay Drole” which became a popular slogan in Haiti at the time when Aristide went into exile. I got a visa to travel to the US and when I got here, I stayed. But I kept in contact with her and my son and I supported them.

 

Cheyna: Did you visit them?

 

James: I didn’t have a green card, so for five years I wasn’t able to. One day I spoke to her and told her I was getting married. She didn’t like the idea but she also understood that was the only way we were ever going to see each other so she gave me her blessing.

 

Cheyna: I understand the whole marrying situation but did you guys ever reunite?

 

James: We did. I took a trip to Haiti after obtaining my papers. It was nice being reunited with her and my son but the trip was cut short after some people I use to deal with in the music business put a hit out on me.

 

Cheyna: Why was this hit issued?

 

James: The people behind it felt that I was the reason Original Rap Staff broken up.

 

Cheyna: Not that it would justify a hit but were you?

 

James: I left the band because some of the people behind us promoting and managing were working us but we were broke. We had concerts with Wyclef and the Fugees, and countless successful tours but at the end of the day, they told us the promoters refused to pay. I got fed up and left. The second time I tried to return to Haiti, another attempt was made on my life. Aristide was the one who rushed me out of the country. It was at this point Ginou told me she refuse to lose me so go back to the US and live my life, if it’s meant to be, we shall reunite again.

 

Cheyna: Is that how Jean Valdo came into her life?

 

James: Absolutely!

 

Cheyna: did you take her advice and live your life?

 

James: Yes. As a matter of fact, when my significant other was pregnant, Ginou called me to congratulate me. She didn’t know, nobody knew. I was shocked and she said she just had a feeling. We always kept in contact. When she met Valdo she called me and told me she met a man whom treated her right and she’s thinking about moving in with him. Two months later she called and told me she moved in with him but he’s not at all whom she thought he was. When I asked her to explain, she told me he wanted her to sleep in all white on Thursdays.

 

Cheyna: Is that for mystical reasons?

 

James: Of course. He worships Erzilie the sprit amongst others. She told me she witnessed him doing magic where things would disappear. She was scared of him?

 

Cheyna: Before you go any further, how did they meet?

 

James: She told me they met while she was filming the movie “Le Miracle De La Foi.” He was on the set I’m not sure what he was doing but he offered her a ride one day after shooting and that’s how they started seeing each other.

 

Cheyna: When did the alarm bells started going off in her head?

 

James: When he told her he worshiped the devil and the devil is who saw her on TV and wanted them to be together. Ginou believed in God and she wanted no part of it.

 

Cheyna: Why did she stay?

 

James: It’s not that easy when someone else is controlling you. At first she didn’t believe him because he never did anything in front of her but one day she called me and told me while they were driving in a car, a group of Zenglendou stopped them. They were getting ready to kill them and she said in her heart “Jezi Sove m” and the Zenglendou left them alone.  When they got home that night, he told her “You really believe in God, if you didn’t say Jezi Sove m in your heart, I was going to disappear on the spot. She was shocked he knew exactly what she said in her heart.

 

Cheyna: Why didn’t she report him to the proper authorities?

 

James: Jean Valdo has a lot of connections in Haiti. Like, in the government, gangs and money. He made sure she knew. He threatened her many times that if she left he would kill her son and whole family. She loved Jameson so much, she would never risk it.

 

Cheyna: Does he have a history of violence?

 

James: Of course but she only found out later on in the relationship. He was married before with two children. His wife left him 14 years ago. Sshe ran to another country so he wouldn’t find her because he tried to kill her. He even killed his own sister in the Dominican Republic.

 

Cheyna: His own sister? What did the family and the authorities do?

 

James: Valdo told his family the sister was acting up so he left her there, whatever happens to her he wasn’t responsible. After they learned he killed her, nothing could have been done because it was out of Haiti’s jurisdiction. He never served any time?

 

Cheyna: Didn’t she come to the US to work at the UN?

 

James: Yes.

 

Cheyna: Why didn’t she use that opportunity to escape him?

 

James: Because our son was left behind. She made many attempts to leave him. The first time she got her visa he took it. She had to get a new one. Her church members had her sleep at their house on many occasions just so he wouldn’t start a fight with her.

 

Cheyna: Did your son ever alert you of what was going on?

 

James: Yes he did. He told me one day Vlado was beating his mother but Ginou fought back and she beat him up because he has a bad arm.

 

Cheyna: So how did he manage to beat her to death like that?

 

James: That’s why a lot of people were speculating that they were fighting on the day she died. He waited for December 24th because it was a mystical sacrifice day. He waited for her to fall asleep and that’s when he must have given her that fatal blow to the head.

 

Cheyna: Did she die on the spot?

 

James: No she took her final breath at the hospital. Some people spotted him and tried to disarm him at first but they thought the object in his hands was a shot gun. Instead they called the police. He stood over her and continued to hit her over the head, and her eyes. When he tried to flee that’s when they captured him.

 

Cheyna: There was a song written in Haiti around carnival time saying she was cheating on him with many different guys and that is why he killed her, how do you respond to that?

 

James: What other defense would a man have for killing a woman in cold blood?

 

Cheyna: Did you go to the funeral?

 

James: I was advised not to. A lot of people told me I can be killed because even in jail he was controlling his gang.

 

Cheyna: Since her passing has anybody stepped forward to offer your son help with his education?

 

James: We’ve gotten a lot of offers but nothing so far. I’m well aware of how many people who profited from her death.

 

Cheyna: I notice you released your new album yourself, why did you decide to do that?

 

James: I did that because a lot of people approached me to release it but I have my son’s future to think about. If I die now I don’t want my son to suffer.

 

Cheyna: Tell me about the album and why did you decide to put the album out now?

 

James: I decided to put this album out because I was working on this album for a while. Ginou had suggested to me a song she would like for me to sing on the album. It was a evangelic song but I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. She wanted to work on the album with me so when she died I pushed to finish the album. I wanted to use the album as a form of communication to convey what was in my heart for her. That is why I have a song with my son on there.

 

Cheyna: Your son sings on the album?

 

James: Yes, he sings on it. We dedicated a song to her memory. The song is entitled, “Ginou, I Miss”. Overall, the album is for my son also. Hopefully, it will be successful and it can help my son. The album is called Posse X in Memory of Ginou. It consists of 17 tracks. It includes; Ginou, I Love, Ginou fo m ale, Bon Dieu ap Disparet w, Posse X in Your Chest, Yon ti Gagan and a few more.

 

Cheyna: Well, thank you for the chat and God bless you and your son.

 

James: Thank you. I wanted to add to the young women out there who might be taken by a guy because he has a beautiful car or money, not to jump into anything with out finding out more about the guy. It might save there lives.

 

Cheyna: Good advice.

 

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Rutshelle Guillaume

Biography of Rutshelle Guillaume …
Born in Port-au-Prince on July 28, a family of three children, Rutshelle GUILLAUME is the only daughter of her Father. At the age of five, she began to sing at the church of God of Boulard directed by Pastor Louis DESTINVAL. His passion for music takes him to 19 years, in the group “REL”, a musical formation composed for the most part of young musicians of the National School of … Arts (ENARTS). She was able to meet her husband, Walner O. Registre (Doc wor) band leader of the group Rèl, father of her beloved daughter (Ruth-Warly O. Registre). Rutshelle is one of the most listening and charming women’s voices on the air today. Her opus “KITE M KRIYE” is asked and asked again in the shows to which she is invited to produce. This song, according to her, comes out of the particular to reach the social. Rutshelle, Philosopher of formation, joined the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of the State University of Haiti (U.E.H) in 2008. After completing her studies, she is currently completing her research in order to obtain her degree in philosophy. – Former Professor of Grammar and Philosophy at New Bird College. Rutshelle Guillaume currently works as: Protocol Officer attached to the Kiosk of the Ministry of Haitians Living Abroad (MHAVE) at TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE International Airport. – During a training on vocal techniques organized by James Germain, Emmeline Michel and Stevenson Théodore at the Fokal in 2011, his performance on stage enabled him to surprise Yole DEROSE, in search of young female talents for his project “Haiti Heart of Women “. She chose to be part of her project. While awaiting the release of her album, she presents to the public the opportunity to discover it in her song titled “KITEM KRIYE” which is video-clip. In addition, Rutshelle had already participated on numerous projects with several artists and musical groups, such as: – Roosevelt SAILLANT, known as BIC Tizon dife: “Mesi ti cheri doudou” a song from his latest album entitled “Kreyòl sings Kreyòl Konpran” . Doc Filah: “Trèv pou amoni”, a song from his album “Akrilik sou twal rezon” – Eunide Edouarin dit (Eud) and Aristor Oberson says (Dad Crazy): “Fòk mwen fete”, a song of their album “Limyè wouj” – Jean Bernard Félicien dit (Hurricane) and Valkency Décembre dit (K-lib): “yon lide”, a song from their album “Knock Out” – Barikad crew , konplèks, bafon plafon “, songs from the album” RED “. To name but a few

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Neefah Song
Biography

Prior to launching her musical career, Neefah got her start by auditioning for the Brooklyn High School of the Arts; a specialized arts school where she majored in vocal music. In addition, she took Music Theory for she believes reading and writing music should be a very important factor in any musicians training.

Neefah excelled in the program and later attended the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Musical Theater. She also graduated from the Barbizon School of Modeling the same year. Upon both graduations, Neefah began pursuing music full-time.

Stephanie “Neefah” Fontus was born on February 21st in Brooklyn, NY to a Haitian mother and a Haitian and Bahamian father. Her father, a professional bassist didn’t give her much support or encouragement when it came to music and her mother supported his decision because they didn’t want their daughter to make a career in music instead they encouraged her to complete her studies and have a normal and stable life and career. Neefah heeded her parents’ advice however it was in school where she actually found the drive and necessary encouragement that she needed and it came from her music teacher. Through her teaching and mentoring, Neefah finally felt secure enough to pursue her dream in entertainment.

Neefah went on to perform at some very prestigious events and places such as the United Nations, FAME on 42nd Street (Broadway Musical), VH1 Hop Hop Honors where she opened the show, she sang the national anthem at the Yankees’ stadium for the Mets twice to name a few.

With her career looking bright Neefah still felt the need to please her parents and obtain a degree in criminal justice but her heart still remains in music.

Neefah’s musical training and experience may be outside of the Haitian Music Industry’s (HMI) realm, she is no novice to the industry. Neefah’s collaborations include Dola Mizik, Clinton Benoit, Madman JP and Charlot Maitre on lead vocals.

Neefah’s new single entitled “Nobody but you” is officially released and Neefah is currently in the studio adding the finishing touches to her album slated for a Summer release.

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Written by Cheyna Pierre

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Yves Joseph

Yves Joseph

Background vocal

A Native of Petion-Ville, Yves Joseph, better known as Fanfan, is one of the original members of the band. Fanfan started with the band in 1968 playing the congas. In the 80’s, he moved to the front as an additional vocalist in support of Shoubou. The two have formed an impressive singing duo for the last 45 years. Fanfan is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and versatile members of Tabou Combo. Apart from being the band background vocalist, he’s also the band’s manager and main songwriter. Fanfan is a graduate (Cum Laude) from City College with a major in International Relations and a minor in Education. In the Summer of 2000, Fanfan became the first Haitian artist to land an endorsement deal with a major U.S. company when he signed with LATIN PERCUSSION (LP). Fanfan said his most positive experience with Tabou Combo was when the hit single NEW YORK CITY was released. ‘It is a good feeling to hear your songs everywhere you go in Europe, in jukeboxes, major radio stations, and Clubs,’ said Fanfan. ‘The attention you get, the pampering and the fame is unbelievable…’

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Yvon Andre

Yvon Andre

Percussions/Vocal

It was in 1968 when then fifteen year old percussionist Yvon Andre, known to all as Kapi, became a member of Tabou Combo. Back then the young musician had to sneak out of his family’s home in Petion-Ville to play with the band due to the fact that his parents were determined not to let their son become a musician. However, his love for music was too strong to be stopped. Kapi said he could have become anything, but he chose to be a musician because he loves music. It is that love that has motivated him to stay with Tabou Combo for so many years. Kapi is not just a mere percussionist; he’s also a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. Kapi has penned many of Tabou’s hit songs. He has also written most of the band’s Spanish songs including FIESTA and PANAMA QUERIDA. The latter he co-wrote with Fanfan. Kapi said his most memorable moments as a member of Tabou was in 1998 when he traveled to the Ivory Coast to receive a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Tabou Combo, and again when RFO (French radio/television) honored Tabou Combo in Martinique; those, he said, were historical moments.

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Tabou Combo

BIOGRAPHY

“Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo,” says Tabou Combo’s co-founder and ex-drummer Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music, Konpa (con-pah), has propelled the country’s preeminent dance band around the world. The 12 members of the band have covered many territories since leaving Haiti and relocating to New York City in 1971. By that time, Tabou had already established itself as Haiti’s number one group, and as the “Ambassadors of Konpa.” Tabou Combo now has worldwide fans and followers from London to Paris, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, South America, throughout the Caribbean and in North America.

It is easy to understand why Tabou Combo’s relentless and high-energy style of Compas dance beat knows no language barrier. Singing in English, Spanish, French or their native Creole, Tabou serves a hot mix of grooves and textures with roots from around the world. You will hear a strong dose of the Dominican Republic’s national dance music, meringue. In addition, there is Haiti’s dance-till-you-drop carnival music, rara, the hypnotic drums of Haitian voodoo rituals. Add to that quadrilles and contra-dances from Haiti’s French colonizers and funk from the American soul era to James Brown for good measure. The mixture of all these influences makes for a serious bass line that brings new meaning to the word bottom; layer upon layer of accents courtesy of drums, percussion and congas; the constant intertwining of two guitars with the feel of West African Soukous topped with bright piano riff and the brassy sound of a 3-man horn section.

Tabou Combo got started in 1968 in Petion-Ville, a town just outside Port-au-Prince, by Albert Chancy and Herman Nau and some friends, all in their teens. They began by naming themselves “Los Incognitos” because they were unknown at that time. They changed to Tabou Combo in 1969, in order to bear a name closer to the Haitian culture. That year, the band won first prize in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation in Haiti, and by 1970 it was one of the island’s leading bands. Then the Chancy’s parents stepped in, and Albert, the band’s guitarist, and original, leader was sent to college in Montreal and gave up music. The band dissolved and its members drifted to the United States. Early in 1971, however, an unexpected meeting led to a Tabou reunion with rhythm guitarist Jean-Claude Jean as the leader and the band has been together, with a few changes, ever since.

Employing the repetition and breaks of Afro-American gospel music, TABOU COMBO entices the listener to become listener and dancer. Almost four decades after TABOU COMBO’s establishment, the band has audiences dancing everywhere from concert halls to the streets and in nightclubs around the world. Says Fanfan, the band’s background vocalist and main songwriter, “We want people to dance and forget their sorrows.”

There is no doubt, the music is made for dancing, but Tabou also features lyrics that focus on social issues of the day. For example, the lyrics from the title cut of the group’s 1991 release ZAP ZAP deal with uplifting the image of Haitian people in the wake of bad press connected to the AIDS epidemic.

It was 1974 when the band captured Europe’s attention with its million-selling hit single NEW YORK CITY. Tabou steadily has been building its international followers ever since. The 1989 release, AUX ANTILLES (The Antilles), topped European and Caribbean charts for six consecutive weeks. AUX ANTILLES also won Best Album for Haitian Dance Music at the 1991 1st Annual Caribbean Music Awards at New York City’s famed Apollo Theater. Tabou’s release, KITEM FE ZAFEM (Let Me Do My Things), was voted among Beat Magazine’s Best of 1988. In 1989, KITEM FE ZAFEM, along with ZAP ZAP were used by the film director Jonathan Demme in his movie MYSTERY DATE. The song JUICY LUCY was chosen by French movie maker Maurice Pialat for his movie POLICE (1985). In 2002, world known guitarist Carlos Santana recorded the song MABOUYA (Foo Foo) on his album SHAMAN.

After traveling around the world with Tabou, Fanfan says he has found that people everywhere are all the same and they all love music. TABOU COMBO seduces the people with rhythm that does not let go. Konpa’s unrelenting dance beat is contagious and there are plenty of witnesses. Many of the thousands of TABOU COMBO fans around the world eagerly will testify… that is if they can stop dancing long enough to talk!

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Dat7

Biography

Based out of Hollywood, Florida, Dat7 is a Haitian band with a style deeply rooted in the finest tradition of Compas Direct with Zouk and R&B influences. Dat7 came into existence in late 2014 when former bandmates and longtime friends, Ricot Amazan (conga drums), and Eddy Viau (percussionist), join forces and created the band. They were later joined by Vladimir Alexis (drums), and Olivier Duret (vocalist), to complete the ensemble. Dat7 has created quite a stir since releasing their debut album VERDICT in October of 2015. Having been awarded the “Revelation de L’année 2015” award and the Haitian Academy Award in 2017, Dat7 continues to position itself as one of the most notable new bands, especially for their superb live performances.

Je-veux-M’envoler

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