They came one last time to pay homage to the firebrand folk singer whose politically charged lyrics set to acoustic guitar melodies put corrupt politicians on notice and inspired a generation of Haitians.
Joseph Emmanuel ?Manno? Charlemagne was their Bob Dylan, their Bob Marley ? and his stirring lyrics became a shield as they battled dictatorship, struggled with democracy and dreamed of another Haiti.
Now Charlemagne and his deep, crooning voice are gone, taken by cancer in Miami Beach where, for years, he entertained diners at South Beach?s Tap Tap Restaurant with his songs of protest.
His death at 69 on Sunday came after multiple stints in exile, many assassination attempts and a star-studded international campaign by the late filmmaker Jonathan Demme to free him from the Argentine Embassy where he sought haven after a military coup toppled Haiti?s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. An avowed Marxist who was dubbed the ?Caged Bird of Haiti,? he had an unsuccessful tenure as mayor of Port-au-Prince in the mid-90s.
© Naman Wakil Venezuela
© Naman Wakil Miami