A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey is a collection of songs inspired by my experiences living in Louisiana as a daughter of Haitian immigrants. Though I have always had a strong Haitian identity, my American-ness is unmistakable. As a result, I have felt, at different points throughout my life, a lot of conflict and confusion around these overlapping identities. When I moved to Louisiana from
New York, I found glimpses of my heritage on the streets of New Orleans from spotting my family names at the local cemeteries, to second lines in the streets to red beans and rice (and more!). I also found a very rich culture to call home and,
through my ancestry, a deep feeling of connection to Louisiana music and culture.
The title for this album was sparked by me reading a book called A day for the hunter, a day for the prey by Gage Averill, a title is derived from a Haitian proverb, which address the many intersections of politics, power and music in Haiti in the 20th century. In the book, Averill discusses a type of song that evolved from the Haitian refugee crisis in the 90s where “boat people” wrote songs about the
perilous journey over the sea to the shores of the United States. That concept moved me to write the title track to this album. I tried to imagine what it must be like to have to make such a hard decision how that feeling of being stuck with
limited options can impact the course of one’s journey in life. Beyond that, I realized that these mass movements of people across oceans and seas have been happening for hundreds of years and that, worldwide, various circumstances push people from their native homes to finding new homes. The story of Louisiana is a great example from multiple perspectives, from the arrivals of French and Spanish colonizers, to the Acadians to Creoles to slaves to the Americans. The founding of Louisiana is inextricably linked to the Haitian revolution,
which gave birth to the first black independent nation in the Western Hemisphere. The layers of movements of people to this region goes back hundreds of years and so, from a creative perspective, traditional music with its ancient melodies
and strong oral tradition, felt like an excellent jumping off point to explore some of these issues musically.
On this album, the wisdom in the proverb, A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey, serves as an umbrella for understanding the history and culture of not only Haiti, but also of Louisiana and the United States. When our systems and governments reveal themselves to be fundamentally broken and even sometimes work against us, it can feel like such a man eat man world. For me, the songs on this album exemplify that struggle, what it is to be human and what it feels like to be in search of a good life, despite the circumstances that may hold us back from achieving that good life. Indeed, sometimes we are the hunters, and sometimes we are the prey.