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“Lisette quitté la plaine” is a song text written in colonial St. Domingue around 1757 (St. Mery, Mahautiere) that made its way to France (Rousseau) and the United States where it became a popular Creole folk song (Gottschalk, Nickerson). The text was rediscovered in modern-day Haiti and set to music yet again. (Lamothe) Contrary to typical slave narratives of its time, this song humanizes the plight of an enslaved man whose beloved has been sent away. (Dauphin) In this project, Dr. Jean Cerin and I will co-create five music video versions of this song that were written between the mid 18th century and the mid 20th century by musicians in St. Domingue (colonial Haiti), France, the United States, and modern Haiti. We will then co-create a 30-minute documentary that provides a complete history of the song’s origin and dissemination to explain how both Haiti and Louisiana came to claim this song as their own. This documentary will tell an intimate story about how Dr. Cerin and the black artists that came before him such as Camille Nickerson and Ludovic Lamothe along with allies like Clara Gottschalk and Jean Jacques Rousseau used our resources to center black narratives within a classical music canon that often excludes those stories.

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