The staggered rhythm really gets me in this piece. The cello is gorgeous (cellos always are), but putting it over the rhythmic voices and the just a little bit not steady beat makes this a piece I always instantly recognize and am excited to hear again.
Dam mwen yo in Haitian Creole simply translates to “they are my ladies.” In Haiti, the cultural image of women is one of strength. They are pillars of their homes and communities, and are both fearless and loving, all while carrying the weight of their families and children on their backs. As a first generation Haitian-American, these women—my mother, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins—were central to my upbringing and my understanding of what it means to be a woman. In Dantan, Haiti-Sud, where my family is from, it is rare to walk down the countryside roads without hearing the voices of women—in the fields, cooking for their loved ones, gathering water at the wells with their babies. This piece and the voices within it are representative of these ladies—my ladies. And the cello sings their song—one of strength, beauty, pain and simplicity in a familiar landscape.