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Charlot Lucien – Ti Cyprien Doktè Ya Bezwen By Mario Malivert

For the Boston Haitian Reporter December 2003 You are invited to take a trip, far from your daily life in the States. You will go to Haiti, Port-au-prince, more precisely, during the tumultuous times of the 70’s and 80’s. That’s where, with his latest CD, Charlot Lucien invites us, one more time –he did it before with Ti Oma - . There, you will get acquainted with Ti Cyprien, Sonson, Maitre Barzol and Coriolan, Capois La Mort, and others.

Ti Cyprien is the lead character of “Ti Cyprien Dokte Ya Bezwen”, the main piece of Lucien’s CD. This story traces the itinerary of a young Haitian who grew up in the slums of Port-au-prince, attended the Faculty of Medicine, and became a physician. Along the way, he had to deal with the scorn of his classmates, their abusing friendship, and the brutality of the established authority. It is about overcoming obstacles, winning against the odds. It looks like one more feel good survival story. But wait, is it?

“Dokte Ya Bezwen” does not appall you like Maurice Sixto’s Ti Saintanise nor does it cheer you up as Ti Oma. It rather generates an oozing feeling of uneasiness. It is sarcastic, however who do we laugh at? Of course we laugh at the usual suspects: the conceited dignitaries, their arrogant children, the henchmen of the regime. But this time, we come to also laugh at our underdog, Ti Cyprien. Although Lucien describes him as smart, Ti Cyprien shows no clues of social awareness and identity. In addition, his sexual preoccupations toward his female classmates reveal a brute and aggressive side in his character. At the end, when he is savagely beaten by the “Sportsman Officer” and thrown into jail, you hardly feel outraged. It is as if Ti Cyprien pays the misfortune of his show-off actions.

With such a dubious character, Charlot Lucien introduces new facets to the usual one-dimensional Cinderella genre. The satire is pervasive, no character escapes its stings. Ti Cyprien is not this social victim devoid of flaws; on the contrary he is as shallow and conceited as his classmates. This portrait of Ti Cyprien may not bring us to tears of joy or uplift our mood, but it is real. Too many Haitians coming from humble beginnings fail to even attempt to improve the conditions of life of those left behind. Too many become physicians or lawyers or engineers to only claim their place under the sun.

The other long piece of the CD, “Sonson Moun Fou ou L’Alternative Politique” relates the daily life of a mentally challenged Haitian, in the transitional epoch, right after the fall of Baby Doc. Lucien uses the delusions of Sonson to decry the follies of the established politicians. Here, the wit is raw, almost surreal. In this short story, Lucien shows what he can do when he gets rid of Sixto’s fixtures: an original, yet familiar tale. “Sonson Moun Fou” is to this CD what “La Stratégie Epidermique de Classe” was to “Ti Oma”, the best piece of the set, a perhaps serendipitous story that transforms an ordinary fact of life to an exquisite memento.

The shortest story of the CD, “Dyaspora Lang Poudre”, introduces us to a couple living in the U.S who pretends not speaking or understanding Creole or French in their attempt to deny their Haitian origins. Although the story addresses a veracious sociological topic, national identity crisis, satire may not be the right vehicle to convey the implied message. Or maybe Coriolan gets too much of the spotlight and comes across as an obnoxious fellow. In addition, the story takes too much time to pick up, and sways from one character to the other without reflecting a coherent picture. In any case, the story, as a whole, fails to amuse and leaves instead a sullen aftertaste.

The surprise of the CD is the poems “Le Baptème de Capois La Mort” and its Creole version. Is Lucien teasing us with these two epics or are they a kind of foretaste to future directions? The poems reenact the extraordinary exploits of one of the heroes of our independence. The language, pregnant with images and sounds, matches Lucien’s eloquence, and recreates in a few minutes one of the most unforgettable chapters of our history. Lucien succeeds in capturing the immediacy and the tension of the moment. He puts you right in the midst of roaring cannons and flying swords. These historical poems whet our appetite, now it comes to Lucien to bring us to satiety.

With this second CD Lucien reaffirms that he is taking this genre very seriously. As the addition of supporting sound effects can testify, he is also thinking about revamping it. You can sense in him an attempt, although hesitant, to brake away. He needs to leave Sixto’s trails and antics and forge new ways, new paths. From time to time in his two CDs, we can feel him, unaltered, naked, risking everything, and without the crutches of his illustrious predecessors. Lucien needs to claim his identity, all the time, in each sigh, in each word uttered, in each inflection of the voice. Already, with two CDs, stories upon stories, he is certainly in his way to recreate our world and capture our imagination. And maybe next month or next year, we will hear Sonson’s rasping voice rehashing “No money no love, drug” resonate in casual conversations and carnival tirades. Then, somewhere in Boston, Charlot Lucien will nod and whisper “Nap byen mennen”. End.

CREOLE VERSION Ti Cyprien, Doktè Ya Bezwen Dezyèm CD Lodyans Charlot Lucien Pote Pou Nou Janvye 2004

 Mezanmi pwoche, rale chèz ba nou, kanpe tout aktivite, louvri zòrèy nou: Tou cho la men dezyèm cd Charlot Lucien an. “Ti Cyprien, Doktè Ya Bezwen” kase kòd soti, li tou limen nan vwayaj oraliti Charlot Lucien antame depi 2001. Nou sonje Ti Oma, kounye ya se Ti Cyprien, envite lakay ou Mèt Barzol ak Coriolan pou yo kase lodyans nan yon gwo aprèmidi anba lonbraj pye zanmann. Lodyans prensipal cd ya se “Ti Cyprien, Doktè Ya Bezwen”. Istwa sa pale de ti Cyprien ki soti nan youn lakou dèyè do Christ-Roi pou li tonbe nan lekòl medsin. Lucien foure nou nan egzistans moun kap lite nan rakwen bliye Pòtoprens kote la mizè simaye. Ti Cyprien ki te youn nèg ki fò lekòl, apre ke li fini klas segondè, deside pou l antre nan lekòl medsin pou l tounen yon doktè. Li tap vini premye doktè, premye entelektyèl non sèlman nan fanmi li, men tou nan tout zòn la. Nan lane 60, 70 yo, pou antre nan fakilte medsin, menm si ou entelijan, ou dwe jwenn youn parenn ki pou lage ou andan. Se konsa, papa Ti Cyprien te rive jwenn yon potanta ki pèmèt li reyalize rèv sa.

Ti Cyprien antre nan fakilte medsin. Nap atann ak bèl mèvèy pitit Sò Yèt nan mitan boujwa vant anfle. Nap atann pwofesè bèkèkè devan eksplwa youn pitit malere. Lucien pito di nou kijan ti Cyprien kòm si l bliye e ki kote l sòti, e kisa l vin regle. Li pran youn abitid dezabiye ti medam fakilte yo ak zyel, pran woulib nan machin tiboujwa, e menm manje sou tab ak la fanmi agwonòm. Ti Cyprien tèlman bliye kote l soti, li menm rive pran machin pitit agwonòm pou l ale kraze yon chèlbè. Men yon chèlbè ki malerezman fini mal. Devan pòtre pèsonaj prensipal sa, nou santi nou twouble. Nou ta pito bat bravo tankou nou te fè pou Ti Oma, men lan ka Ti Cyprien, nou menm gen difikilte pou kè nou ta fè nou mal pou ti nonm nan. Nou prèt pou n ta di, “se bon pou li”.

Se bon pou Ti Cyprien. Se bon pou tout lòt yo ki bliye lakou degrenngòch yo soti. Se bon pou tout lòt yo ki wont di yo se moun andeyò. Se bon pou tout lòt yo ki tonbe gaga devan byen gran nèg. Sebon pou nou. Mesaj “Ti Cyprien, Dokte Ya Bezwen” pat evidan nan komansman lodyans lan. Tankou youn majisyen, Lucien rale atansyon nou nan youn direksyon, pou li tonbe nan youn lòt. Men alafen, mesaj la klè: vin doktè se pa fè wè, se sèvi pèp la. Se wete kalamite maladi tètchaje nan mitan malere. Men li pran Ti Cyprien kèk chaplèt anba men espòtman militè, ak kèk jou prison pou l te ka aprann leson sa. Pou lòt Ti Cyprien ki jodi ya nan tout lari Pòtoprens, kisa lap pran pou yo tou vin konprann vokasyon yo?

Youn lòt lodyans sou cd a se “Sonson Moun Fou ou l’Alternative Politique”. Fwa sa a Lucien mennen nou pi pre, nan epòk apre depa Jean Claude Duvalier, kote palè nasyonal la te tounen youn lopiswa pou politisyen opòtinis. Lè sa, zòn Bourdon te sou kontwòl Sonson, se sa li te kwè. Sonson, se te youn fou dou, ki tap viv nan youn reyalite ke sèl limenm te konnen. Reyalite sa pote l youn jou pwopoze youn altènativ politik. Youn istwa vrè ke Lucien dekouvri petèt nan monte desann nan lari Pòtoprens. Youn paj istorik ki pap janm pibliye nan liv ofisyèl, men ki raple ladebat moun fou nan tout rakwen Ayiti. Lodyans sa kanpe drèt, li soti tou dwat nan zantray atis la, limyèl pwojte byen lwen pou l di nou Lucien gen kichòy nan djakout li. Listwa konsa, fre tankou dlo sous, vanse oraliti ayisyen an. Menm jan nou te kase renmen ak “La Stratégie Epidermique” nan cd Ti Oma a, se konsa “Sonson Moun Fou” chame nou.

Si Sonson te fou, mesyedam nan “Dyaspora Lang Poudre “ yo menm pèdi lidantite yo. Mèt Barzol antipwèt pou l met pye youn koup dyaspora nan youn sèl grenn soulye. Istwa sa merite pou Lucien di l, se youn koze serye. Pou kabre letikèt lawont maladi SIDA, anpil dyaspora nan lane 80 yo te chwazi di yo pa Ayisyen. Yo se Jamayiken, Matinikè, Antiyè, eksepte kamoken. Men olye se boujwa arivis oubyen entelektyèl bouch si kap pase pou etranje, lè sa nou ta ri nèt, Lucien kanpe pito de pèsonaj ki ta plis sanble tonbe nan youn sitiyasyon degaje pa peche. Sa wete tout zatouyèt lodyans lan.

Lucien fini cd ya ak youn sipriz: de powèm ki blayi nan lè ya tankou de kout loraj. “Batèm Capois La Mort” sakaje lantouraj la. Kout kanno fè kenken, cheval yo debòde. Tout bon vre, gason pa kanpe. Vwa Lucien fè youn va sou chak mo tankou youn sansi. Li plase nou nan mitan batay la. Boulèt blayi tankou grenn lapli. Capois la Mort tonbe, li leve kanpe. Bravo. Bravo pou ewo nasyonal sa. Bravo pou Lucien ki fè nou reviv paj fyète sa. Nou bezwen rapèl sa, pi plis toujou nan tan jodiya kote konsyans nasyon an depafini ak koutba.

Tankou youn zwazo kap ranje kabann li youn ti bwa apre youn lòt, Charlot Lucien ap bati zèv li nan oraliti Kreyòl la, youn lodyans apre youn lòt. Deja, li montre, sitou lè l soti kò l anba lombraj defen Sixto, ke li menm tou li ka pase chimè nou, fè nou bliye reyalite rèd nap viv la, lage youn souri nan kwen bouch nou, fè nou menm ri de pwòp tèt nou. Nou pa konnen si lòt mwa nan Kanaval na tande Sonson kap chante ak vwa wouye l la:“Nap byen Mennen”. Nou pa konnen tou si rara nan Leogane pap pwofite voye toya sou Ti Cyprien. Men sa nou konnen, avèk dezyèm cd sa, Lucien konfime ke zèv lodyans lan pat mouri ak Sixto. Li pran larelèv tout bon vre, e li fèk kòmanse. Mario Malivert End