Spotlight on Harold Faustin 

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Asselin Charles 

Harold Faustin is a guitarist, composer, performer, producer, and music teacher based in Montreal. Recognized as one of the most talented Haitian artists of his generation, in the course of a thirty-year career Faustin has created a unique form of jazz, a signature sound that is a melodious blend of traditional Haitian music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and art music. Consistently praised by critics, recipient of several prestigious music awards (e. g. 2007 Prix Soba as producer of a francophone jazz album; 1998 Prix Cator as artist of the year), eagerly sought after by other artists for his inspired arrangements and electrifying accompaniments, Harold Faustin is also very appreciated by a public of connoisseurs who rarely miss his performances.

While Faustin’s artistic success is no doubt due to his natural talent, it is built on hard work and a rigorous musical education. In addition to his studies in musicology at Université de Montréal and in jazz performance at McGill University, he took private lessons with New York’s famed guitarist and teacher Jim Hall and had piano training with the New York pianist Kenny Barron. Ultimately, it is this rigorous technical training, added to his mastery of the musical idiom of Haiti and familiarity with Caribbean and West African musical traditions, that underpins Faustin’s art. Natural talent, superb training, ethnocultural sensibility, a taste for bold experimentation, poetic flair, such are the ingredients that come together in the making of Faustin’s music. It is unsurprising, therefore, that his numerous original compositions transcend genre boundaries.

The maestro will be launching his latest creation on November 12 at Rendez-vous du thé in Montréal. As stated on his website, “In his earlier albums, Harold Faustin invented an innovative sound, a subtle blend of jazz, classical music, blues, and funk. In his new opus, he invites us to immerse ourselves in Haitian culture and art music. Esquisse is an album on which listeners will discover, or rediscover, the sounds of Frantz Casséus in particular, but also those of such composers as Luis Bonfa, Francisco Tarrega, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney.”

A high-profile figure in the Haitian community and the music world of Quebec, Harold Faustin is a towering musician who deserves much greater renown. In this issue of HDNdigest, you are invited to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with this great Haitian artist. In addition to the samples of his music posted here, readers will enjoy hearing the maestro’s own comments about his musical career and insights about his art in a recent interview with Jean Jonassaint.

Bonne écoute! 

Harold Faustin discography 

Two Scores by Harold Faustin: T. L. and Mizè

Tam Tam Dance, 1994 


YESTERDAY interprété par/played by Harold Faustin, 2023


RENCONTRE Harold Faustin l’artiste, 2023

HIT stories / Muzion / La Vi Ti Neg / Entrevue avec Harold Faustin, 2023

Bonne lecture!

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