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Leon Dimanche

I am The baby of a family of 8, I grew up listening to the guitar playing and singing of big brothers, Robert and Gabriel. Too young to be involved in this kind of activity, I used to be kept away when family members and friends got together to have fun in the family’s house. First born brother

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Raphael did not want me around so I would not develop an early taste for this kind of events, worrying I might neglect my school works and also develop an addiction for alcohol. 

.I and other brother Jean were able to benefit from the knowledge of Gabriel a poet and Raphael a judge who almost every day would talk for hours about literature, history among other things. Early on, I would start writing poetry myself, and since I was not allowed to play guitar, I would hide at a friend’s house (Oswald Genois) and teach myself to play.I was only 16 when I wrote one of my best hits “Va-t-en”. The lyric for this song was so deep that people from my town would say the song was written by Brother Gabriel the poet, and later by another of the town composer, Jean Ledans. In the years to come, a lot of our media’s writers would still wrongly give credit of my works to Jean Ledans, maybe because I sang one of Jean Ledans’ song “ma vie, une vallee de douleurs” on one of my albums. One of them would write that Jean Ledans has written my songs, when in fact I would release only one of Jean Ledans’ song mentioned above and another one “Pourquoi la rose “was released by Les Lionceaux Des Cayes.         

I started singing at a very early age. At 6, I was already a member of my school choir (Freres Oblats Du Sacre Cœur), but I really started my solo career, only at 13, after my older brother Raphael heard me sing while showering. I joined the group « Les Black Boys des Cayes » at 15 during the summer, at end of school, since I was not allowed to play during the school year. 

A year later, still during the summer, I  found myself playing with a new band “Organ Combo”, under the direction of Pierrot Leger. I was with that band for 2 years and right after finishing high school, the band was dismantled and a new one formed under my direction, when Organ Combo was forced to perform in “Adults environment not suited for these young musicians”, by a powerful Tonton Macoute, who was angry because he felt they were playing for a selected class of people. Pierrot Leger thought, by making a teenager the leader of the band, the man might leave them alone. It worked and he left him alone. Within a few months, the new group “Les Lionceaux Des Cayes” became the town’s favorite, and was being sought all over the South side of the country. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iXMiGtlpaI

In 1971, Marcel Mathieu, Director of “Radio Diffusion Haitienne” one of the leading radio station of Port-Au-Prince, was passing by my town, heard of me, and came to one of my performance. He asked me if he could record some of my music to be aired on his radio. I agreed and he recorded “Va-t-en, Nostalgie, Pourqu’oi la rose”, and a few other songs, which within a month were on every body’s lips in the Capital. 

Early in 1972, I received a signed contract from Mrs. Odette Winner of Bacoulou Night Club in Petion Ville to come and play for her on Saturdays. “Les Lionceaux”performed the first night in that magical ambiance of Petionville, the next day, a Sunday morning, Marcel Mathieu introduced me And “les Lionceaux Des Cayes” to the youth of Port-Au-Prince in a live and covered event. It was an unbelievable day which is still on the mind of many. Within weeks, every single radio station of Port-Au-Prince was airing my music and offers to perform were coming from all over the Country.                          

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Last modified on Thursday, 05 January 2017 12:24

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