Haitians Rediscover the Melancholy Music of Beken

The World

They call him ‘Maestro’ or the ‘Artist.’

But to his fans, Jean-Prosper Deauphin is mainly known simply as Beken.

Beken was born 57 years ago in the Carrefour section of Port-au-Prince.

After the devastating earthquake of January 2010 he found himself homeless, living in a tent camp in a public square.

And it was then — when so many Haitians found themselves at the lowest point they’d ever been — that people rediscovered the sorrowful music of Beken.

“Oh, my music is melancholy,” Beken says. “There’s jazz, there’s blues, there’s konpa, sentimental ballads, love songs. Okay? But me, I’m a melancholy artist. It inspires sadness.”

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