Coupé Cloué

Real Name:
Jean Gesner Henry
Haitian singer, musician and band leader.(1925-1998)

Jean GesnerHenry also known as Coupé Cloué was born on May 10th, 1925 in the village of Fonbwa in the commune of Leogane. At nine years old, he moved to Port Au Prince, the nation’s capital where he went to school at Chez Laroche located at Rue Du Centre. Later, he joined the “Centre Des Arts et Metiers”, a school that specialized in the formation of young children by teaching them several trades including music. Jean Gesner Henry learned cabinetry and for his music lessons he learned to play the trumpet his first instrument.
As he became a teenager, Jean Gesner Henry moved to Bel Air an old neighborhood of Port Au Prince. He also had a passion for soccer. A talented player, he started playing with the club “Estad Haitien” and soon after, with the club Hatuey Bacardi. Then at the age of twenty-five, started playing in tournaments organized by the Haitian Soccer Federation. His dreams became reality when together with Michel Blain, Edner Bataille and Marc Elie, he founded the soccer team “Aigle Noir Athletic Club”. On the field, he was hard to compete against as he developed a style that impressed not only his teammates, but also everyone who had the chance to watch him play. Jean Gesner Henry had the ability to cut (Coupe) the velocity of the speedy ball and reduce it to a full stop, and nail it (Cloue) with a super kick right back to the other side. Each time he made this soccer stunt he used his cabinetry jargon Coupé Cloué to describe it. Soon his teammates and other players started to call him Coupé Cloué and the name stuck. It’s also during that time that he started to sing and play the guitar, usually before important games and during team curfew.
Despite his talent as a soccer star Coupé Cloué moved on to playing music but this time as a guitarist jamming and entertaining his friends and local businessman with some members of the band Trio Crystal composed of Georges Celestin, Rene Delva and Andre Serant. Briefly, during the same period, Jean Gesner Henry joined the military where he spent few times.
By 1956, Jean Gesner Henry devoted himself completely to music. Upon his initiative, the group “Trio Select” was created on September 6, 1957 playing the style of Canjo, the father of the Twoubadou style of music in Haiti. Using his enthusiasm and connections, he started to promote the group to radio stations in Port Au Prince notably Radio Caraibes, Radio Quisqueya, Radio MBC, Radio Cacique and Radio Haiti. The Trio surprised the crowd of the famous venue Theatre De Verdure at their first live performance as they were the opening act for Haiti’s most popular band of the 1950s, Jazz Des Jeunes. After the show, they became the talk of the town. All the top radio stations and others were after the artist for interviews and recordings.
In 1958, Trio Select released their first album with producer Marc Duverger. One can not talk of the beginning of Trio Select without talking about talentuous guitarist Bellerive Decelian who spent more than twenty years in the group before leaving us in the late 80’s. He was considered one of the best guitarist in Haiti at the time. Up to then, the guitar as an instrument has not integrated the main stream in all the major bands of the time. He and Trio Select were among the first to use the guitar as a lead instrument preceding by a few years the new wave of groups in the early 60s known as Mini Jazz.
The Trio Select soon gained momentum in the early 1960s as it got a regular Friday night show at Cric Crac Ciné as well as many gigs at the Club Bamboche both venues located in Port Au Prince.
Afterwards, Trio Select started playing at the Citadelle Garden then, they went on to play at Week End Paradis where they started to get a huge following.
By the late 1960s, the singer Luc Raphael Benito from the group L’Etoile Du Soir joined the group. It’s also around the same time that songs like “Juge”, “Plen Kay”, “Chada”, “Kilibwa”, “Kribiche”, “Kousi Kousa”, “Deux Pigeons”, “Saint Antoine”, “Bambou” and “Socis” among others started to hit the air waves. One of his first hit “Juge” was censored by the government. The song was then remake cleverly by Coupé Cloué under the name of “Ti Sourit”. The voice of Coupé Cloué became one of the most recognizable of the airwaves even with the evolution of the Mini Jazz movement. As Trio Select was getting more shows playing with other popular bands with heavier sound, Coupé decided to introduce more sophisticated and amplified instruments in his group.
In 1973, at the club L’anolis Vert located in Thomassin, Trio Select changes its name and became “L’Ensemble Select”. This decision was one of the best by the entrepreneur as the introduction of talented musician like Prosper Saint Louis on bass, Jean Rene Petion on Bongo, and Colbert Desir on congas contributed greatly to his early success.
In March 1974, after returning from a tour in the U.S., the group added other talented musicians such as singer Edner Salomon “Ti Blanc”, guitarist Rigal Jean Baptiste from the group Super Choucoune 70, guitarist Moise Jean, conga player Serge Bernard “Ti Aigle” and drummer Ernst Louis “Ti Nes” who took the band to another level. The new group revamped songs like “Saint Antoine”, “Yeye”, and “Chanm Gason” by adding some jokes to them like Gerard Dupervil did previously in the song “Cout Lang” of Jazz des Jeunes. In 1974, the carnival song “Men Rat La” was an instant success on the float of the flour company “Minoterie”.
By using that template, Coupé Cloué, with his unique style of telling jokes accompanied by his new found rhythm based on the work of the bongos and congas combination, quickly got the attention of the public. By the mid 1970, Ensemble Select of Coupé Cloué became the band of choice of people visiting the country from abroad. They got a contract to perform on a regular basis at “Le Lambi Nightclub”, which is one of the most popular venues in the south side of the nation capital Port-Au- Prince.
At the end of 1976 Assade Francoeur, one of the top singers and composers from the group Super 9, joined the band. His enormous contribution was going to take the band to his apogee with super hit songs like “Myan Myan” and “Fanm Kolokinte”. The voice of Assade Francoeur on the airwaves as the new lead singer of the band, playing next to Coupé Cloué created a new wave of young fans following the band. While most people knew of Coupé Cloué as a controversial singer who often used harsh words to describe the reality of the country, like in the song “Shada”, and sometimes hidden profanity (Like in his songs “Map Di” and “Juge”), or not quite hidden like in the song “Sociss”, Assade’s contribution, 44 songs in total, to the band was quite different as he came up with more ballades, like the song “Marie Jocelyne”, which he wrote for his wife. Bass player Daniel Dalce “Ti Bass” also contributed significantly to the band’s repertoire and originality.
The news of the band attracting so many followers and the selling of many albums outside of Haiti got the attention of show producers around the globe. By the late 70’s the band was already playing in many countries outside of Haiti. By the early 1980s the band went to several cities in North America, many countries in the Caribbean and in France. In December 1979, for the first time, the band went as far as Africa. They got the best welcome in Ivory Coast where Coupé Cloué was received with honor like world dignitaries.
While many bands were influenced by the sound of the new wave of French Caribbean bands by adding a live horn section to their line up, Coupé Cloué kept his originality and even was the champion of the 1980s Haiti’s Carnival Parade with the song “Roi Coupe” (King Coupe), a title he kept for the rest of his life.
By the end of the 1980s Coupé Cloué had so many hit songs in his repertoire that it would have been hard for any radio announcer to do a show in which they would be able to satisfy all the requests of the listeners as songs like “Fanm Kolokinte”, “Madan Marcel”, “Sa Depan”, “Tu Peux Mettre”, “Azoukenken”, “A Ki Kle” and many others, were super hits that were the choices of so many people in the Haitian music world.
In the early 1990s, despite the changes happening in the Haitian music scene, and the introduction of the digital bands getting most of the contracts, Coupé Cloué still kept his originality and was still one of the busiest bands in the market. However, by the mid 1990s the death of some of his musicians and the departure of others who decided to leave the country to reside elsewhere often in the U.S. took a toll on the king. The band was mostly performing his former hits and was not coming up with new hits except for the song “Donki” taken from the album “Sa Ki Pou Ou” released in 1993 under the label Melodie Makers. Under the guidance of Jeff Wainwright and Ernst Louis, this album was recorded partly using the new technology of computer sequencing. “Donki” was arranged by Dadou Pasquet & Laurent Ciceron.
The same year they filmed the Legend only video “Donki” in which some people were able to see images of an aging Coupé Cloué.
In the years that followed, he was even absent at some of the live performances and had also stopped performing outside of the country as he became ill and too old for the night performances in the demanding Haitian music industry. In 1997 he was invited to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York where the producer of Haiti Focus presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Also in Haiti, he was later honored by his fellow musicians, the media and the public in general at a ceremony which was televised nationwide. Coupé Cloué one of the most popular Haitian artists of all the time died on January 29, 1998 leaving behind many memories, many hit songs and a style of music called the Kompa Manba that is even now being played by many bands around the globe.
Coupé Cloué is today the best known artist from Haiti. From humble beginnings, with his talent and creativity, Coupé Cloué applied himself to spreading his unique style of music “Kompa Mamba” to many parts of the world. It is no surprise that Coupé Cloué now enjoys an icon-like status. Coupé Cloué never wrote a bad song. He was a musical prophet. Forty Years in the Music industry has taken him all over the world.
In Groups:



R-10004 Coupé Cloué - Saint Antoine #2 - Interdit Aux Mineurs album art Coupé Cloué Et Le Trio Select Coupé Cloué Et Le Trio Select - Saint Antoine #2 - Interdit Aux Mineurs(LP, Album) Editions "R" R-10004 Haiti 1974 Sell This Version
10.006, ST-R 10006 Coupé Cloué - Map Di album art Coupé Cloué et L'Ensemble Sélect Coupé Cloué et L'Ensemble Sélect - Map Di(LP, Album) Editions "R", Editions "R" 10.006, ST-R 10006 Haiti 1975 Sell This Version
MRS 1052 Coupé Cloué - Coupé Cloué Et L'Ensemble Select A New York album art Coupé Cloué Coupé Cloué Et L'Ensemble Select A New York(LP) Mini Records MRS 1052 US 1976 Sell This Version
MRS 1067 Coupé Cloué - L'Essentiel Coupé Cloué album art Coupé Cloué L'Essentiel Coupé Cloué (Album) Mini Records MRS 1067 US 1978 Sell This Version
MRS 1062 Coupé Cloué - The Preacher album art Coupé Cloué Et L'Ensemble Select* Coupé Cloué Et L'Ensemble Select* - The Preacher (Album) Mini Records MRS 1062 US 1978 Sell This Version
MRS-1081, MRS 1081 Coupé Cloué - International album art Coupé Cloué International (Album) Mini Records MRS-1081, MRS 1081 US 1979 Sell This Version
MRS 1096 Coupé Cloué - Back To Roots album art Coupé Cloué Back To Roots Mini Records MRS 1096 US 1980 Sell This Version
CRLP8001 Coupé Cloué - En-Dedans album art Coupé Cloué En-Dedans (Album) Chancy Records & Tapes, Chancy Records International CRLP8001 US 1980 Sell This Version
MRS 1107 Coupé Cloué - Absolument album art Coupé Cloué Absolument (Album) Mini Records MRS 1107 US 1980 Sell This Version
MRS 1123 Coupé Cloué - Couci-Couca album art Coupé Cloué Couci-Couca(LP) Mini Records MRS 1123 US 1981 Sell This Version
281 Coupé Cloué - Sôciss album art Coupé Cloué, L'ensemble Sélect Coupé Cloué, L'ensemble Sélect - Sôciss (Album) Marc Records (3) 281 Haiti 1980 Sell This Version
MRS 1143 Coupé Cloué - Gaçon Colon album art Coupé Cloué Gaçon Colon Mini Records MRS 1143 Haiti 1982 Sell This Version
LR-001 Coupé Cloué - Antan'n - Pou'n - Antan'n - Nou album art Gesner Henri " Coupé "* Et L'ensemble Sélect Gesner Henri " Coupé "* Et L'ensemble Sélect - Antan'n - Pou'n - Antan'n - Nou (Album) Louis Records (2) LR-001 US 1983 Sell This Version
CRLP 8017 Coupé Cloué - 25e Anniversaire album art Coupe Cloue* 25e Anniversaire (Album) Chancy Records & Tapes CRLP 8017 US 1983 Sell This Version
CRLP 8026 Coupé Cloué - Malingio album art Le Roi Coupe-Cloue* & Le Prince Assaly Le Roi Coupe-Cloue* & Le Prince Assaly - Malingio (Album) Chancy Records & Tapes CRLP 8026 US 1984 Sell This Version
MRS 1168 Coupé Cloué - 5 Continents album art Coupé Cloué 5 Continents (Album) Mini Records MRS 1168 US 1984 Sell This Version
MRS 1175 Coupé Cloué - Habitude Cé Vice album art Coupé Cloué Habitude Cé Vice Mini Records MRS 1175 US 1985 Sell This Version
CRLP 8031 Coupé Cloué - Bel Mariage album art Le Roi Coupé-Cloué* Bel Mariage(LP) Chancy Records & Tapes CRLP 8031 Haiti 1985 Sell This Version
ESP 17902, CRLP 8041 Coupé Cloué - Madam Marcel album art Le Roi Coupe- Cloue* Madam Marcel (Album) Disques Espérance, Chancy Records, Chancy Records ESP 17902, CRLP 8041 France 1986 Sell This Version
SRP 3005 Coupé Cloué - Le Roi Coupé Cloué A Paris 6ème Dimension album art Coupe Cloue* Le Roi Coupé Cloué A Paris 6ème Dimension(LP, Album) Speed-Records SRP 3005 France 1987 Sell This Version
RFE 6502 Coupé Cloué - Racine album art Coupé Cloué Racine(LP) R Francis RFE 6502 US 1988 Sell This Version
AP-104 Coupé Cloué - Full Tank album art Coupé Cloué Full Tank(LP) AP Records (4) AP-104 Haiti 1991 Sell This Version
GR 0076 Coupé Cloué - Ses Grands Succès album art Coupé Cloué Ses Grands Succès(CD, Album) Geronimo Records GR 0076 US 1992 Sell This Version
MMI CD 1030 Coupé Cloué - Sa Ki Pou Ou album art Coupé Cloué Sa Ki Pou Ou (Album) Melodie Makers, Inc MMI CD 1030 Canada 1993 Sell This Version
MMI CD 1035 Coupé Cloué - La Legende Live!!! album art Coupé Cloué La Legende Live!!!(CD, Album) Melodie Makers, Inc MMI CD 1035 Haiti 1994 Sell This Version