Unit 6: Haitian Music with Emeline

Genre Overview

Haiti’s music reflects the different groups that have lived on the island, melding French, Spanish, African, and indigenous influences. There are many different styles of Haitian music. Perhaps the most popular and culturally significant is compas, a complex dance music characterized by the signature tanbou beat. These popular genres grow directly out of Haitian folk traditions, with many folk elements incorporated into contemporary pop music.

Meet Emeline

Emeline’s original music fuses the traditions of her home country with elements of jazz, blues, and R&B, and has lyrics sung in both English and Haitian Creole. She began singing with a gospel choir in Gonaïves, Haiti, where she spent her childhood. After studying at the Detroit Jazz Center, she returned to Haiti where her career blossomed. Now based in New York, Emeline is known as a respected voice for social issues concerning women and children worldwide.

Lesson 1: Learning “A.K.I.K.O.”

 Students learn the chorus to “A.K.I.K.O.”; explore the concept of melodic variation; and create their own rhythmic chant.
Go to Lesson 1: Learning “A.K.I.K.O.” →

Lesson 2: Exploring “Panama Mwen Tombe”

Students will learn to sing “Panama Mwen Tombe,” discuss rhythm and beat, and learn about the tanbou drum.
Go to Lesson 2: Exploring “Panama Mwen Tombe”→

Learn More!



Little Fanfan Sings and Dances in Haiti, Susan Gleason Pierre


Unit 5: PDF Downloads

↓ SG36 Meet Emeline

↓ SG37 We asked Emeline

↓ SG38 Write Your Own Poem

↓ SG39 Explore the Tanbou Drum

↓ SG40 Explore Superstitions

Unit 6: Audio Tracks

Track 6.01 – “A.K.I.K.O.”

Track 6.02 – “A.K.I.K.O.” Chorus

Track 6.03 – “A.K.I.K.O.” Rhythm Loop

Track 6.04 – “Panama Mwen Tombe”

Track 6.05 – “Panama Mwen Tombe” Pronunciation

Track 6.06 – “Panama Mwen Tombe” Chorus

Track 6.07 – “Kongo” Rhythm

Unit 6 – Lesson 1: Learning “A.K.I.K.O.” →

Unit 5 – Lesson 2: Exploring “Cu Ti Lu Dissi”