Vyewo, written by Koralen Jean-Claude Martino (Coralin)

The poignant song by Koralen Jean-Claude Martino, arguably most famously sung by Manno Charlemagne, speaks to the melancholy horrors of Haitians' second instance of being sold into slavery, by the United States during their first occupation of the country, between 1914 and 1934.


Strung together by notes of a minor influence, with lyrics that invoke the despondency of those experiencing life as the Vyewo, sold to work on sugar plantations in neighboring countries, the mainly somber melody is interspersed with contrastingly allegro moments, creating an empathetic understanding, even in those who do not understand the language sung.

It so easily captures sympathy and uses its advantage to remind, or edify people of this, yet another instance of the draining of Haitian resources during moments pivotal to the country's development and prosperity; in this case the time of harvest, when the men sent to work in The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama etc. could have done much to service their own country.

Through feudal agents, arrangements for the voyage would be made for the Vyewo by the same rich and powerful people who had taken over their lands. For this 'privilege', the peasants would have to pay their sponsors before being given the opportunity for placement on a plantation. In this way, the U.S. was able to capitalize on the work of black laborers in the production of sugar, and the exportation of fruits and vegetables, an exchange only little better than slavery.

The song, so vividly capturing and honestly portraying the further complicating of the already hard, sad and hopeless lives of the Haitian Vyewo, was described as having expressed 'a grief so profound, it curves around, embraces and heals.

Reply to this article  (1)

Read more: writer, Song Writer, song lyrics, Jean-Claude Martineau, Coralin, Koralin, Manno Charlemagne, Vyewo, Education

« Why does everyone help when disaster strikes? - Compassion and kindness | Main | Why does everyone help when disaster strikes? - Compassion and kindness »

Return to Articles List

All Comments (1)

Melody says...

Could you make the lyrics to "Vyewo" available?

And an English translation would be helpful

Reply  ... More

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

E-mail (required, will not be published)

Subject: Vyewo, written by Koralen Jean-Claude Martino (Coralin) edit

» »

Our objective is to share with you news and information about Haiti and the people of Haiti. Traditions, habits and the way we were  or  grew are alive in this site. We highly recommend that you Subscribe to our Newsletter and also share with us some of the things that are memorable and made us unique people.