Jordani Joseph (Gros Mesie)

  • Birth: 17 October 1937
  • Birthplace: Terrier-Rouge, Haiti
  • Genre: Folklorik
  • Year Active: 1950-?


 Jordani Joseph (Gros Mesie) (born in Terrier-Rouge, 17 October 1937) is one of the most popular and the most penetrating male vocalists of his epoch. His flawless phrasing and his great timing put him in the league of Stevie Wonder, Charles Aznavou, Ray Charles, and Frank Sinatra. His physique, mixed with his inviting vocal tones made him a super star at an early age. He could have been a great soccer player, but music was much more appealing to him.

At the tender age of 7, while he was attending the "Peres de Terrier-Rouge school" of Father Le Breton, he was part of the church choir. In 1947, as his father was working as a mechanic in "plantation Dauphin", the family moved to Paulette, not too far from Phaeton. While he was continuing his education, he became in integral part of St Therese choir under the tutelage of Dr Antoine Brisson. In 1950, he attended "College Immaculee de Conception in Cap-Haitian". Later on, he joined "Jazz Citadel of Paulette" of Jacques Mompremier, Jean Martel, Croignard St-Vil, Odin Blot, Jonas Jn-Louis, Rene Pinchinat, Joseph Manigat, Thomas David, Musset Narcisse, Joseph Jean, Andre Toussaint, Herve Casseus, Rigaud Fidel, and Gerard Monfiston. For historical purpose, we must mention that the musicians were from different cities who were all employees of plantation Dauphin, an American Sisal company.

Around 1966, when plantation Dauphin closed down, the band moved to Cap-Haitian and has performed at Feu-vert night Club. Since many in Jazz Citadel were former Septentrional musicians, it was customary for both bands to play each other's compositions. In 1968, Jazz Citadel split up. Then, the sensational Jordany was recruited by the young and promising Tropicana D'Haiti of Charlemagne, Manno Turenne, Ti Blanc, Parisien, Grognard Boni, Gerard Michel, Louis Jean, Abaco, Lubert Baptiste, Jean Claude, Rolain Abicnot, Laventure, Leska Pierre, wifrid Jean, and Reynold Noel. Gros Messie with his soulful sound was the missing part for the band ascension. From that point on, Parisien and Gros Mesye him have formed one of the most potent "one two punch" vocal combination in the history of Haitian music.

"Chagrin Damour" was the first hit that he sang in Tropicana. And by the time he tackle "Eliminacin de feos" in Cervantes language, the sky became his limit. He has composed many big hits such as: Rosie, Anita, Filomise, Marie Madeleine, Rose-Marie, and "Le Negre".

"Le Negre", a piece, revised by maitre Janvier Musler is according to him, the masterpiece. His Favorite singers are Celia Cruz and Gerard Dupervil. In his long career, he had the privilege of performing at a Madison Square Garden concert in front of 10.000 people. However, a boat ride on the Hudson River of Manhattan happens to be his most memorable performance. He claims to have felt that he was representing the national flag against 5 other international bands in a surrealist competition. Acclaimed by a multitude of fans from various countries, was for him indescribable. This only proves his inherent competitiveness and his natural instinct to conquer new ground.

Gros mesye retired in 2003 from his beloved band. For 35 years, we have drank "Gros Mesye exquisite wine" and we still miss him. But we understand the temporary aspect of existence. He is married to Anne-Marie Rodrigue Louis for 48 years. The couple has 6 kids: Marie Astride, Ephrem, Rose-Vanie, Ketna, Irlande, and Adeline. Jordany is living in Cap-Haitian/ Connecticut. With his unforgettable voice, his contribution to our folklore is priceless.

- Paul Sanon -

Source: Haitian / American Sports and Education Network