BIOGRAPHY

Gerard Raphael Magloire

was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti on October 24, 1942 to Felix and Negressita Magloire.  His childhood was marked by the wisdom and erudition of his father Felix; supreme court justice, diplomat, writer and founder of several newspapers.  With an unusually older father - aged 67 at Gerard’s birth - the life of the mind and the love of books became a lifelong passion. 

Gerard also showed early on great artistic talent in music, poetry and  painting, and was enrolled at the Academy des Beaux-Arts. With  remarkable ease in learning languages, Gerard obtained a scholarship in 1962  to the Universidad Nacional de Colombia  in Bogotá. During this time he met his future wife, and the young couple returned to Haiti then immigrated to the United States in 1964. Steeped in ideals, immensely creative  , Gerard always yearned to return to Haiti.  He not only held deep pride in his family history - intertwined with national history, but a genuine love of the Haitian people  and unique beauty of Haiti.

As a young father, Gerard was challenged early on with reconciling family life and the passionate drive to create and compose. To help him through this, the single most important channel of expression in Gerard’s life was the guitar which he taught himself to play by ear, beautifully. Gifted with a velvety baritone and outstanding singing vibrato  , Gerard interpreted a broad gamut of songs from  love ballads to …in the four languages he mastered: French English Spanish and Kreyol. He began formally composing his own songs in the 1970’s and in particular, his signature song of a nostalgic return to Haiti,  Retounem Haiti  (1976) which moved to tears relatives of the Haitian Diaspora of  New York .

Prior to his second marriage, Gerard relocated to Miami and began working as an interpreter in the immigration office.  During his second marriage, Gerard had the opportunity to return to Haiti and work jointly with his wife on an agricultural project that underscored the disparities among poor Haitian farmers. Gerard’s thoughts and artistic expression were more and more driven by social and humanitarian concerns in the 1980s-90’s.  He was especially influenced at this time and until his death, by George Barbarin’s spiritual writings, which he promoted fervently and was translating from French to English at the time of his death.

Gerard nearly perished in the tragic earthquake in Haiti  7 years before his death - almost to the day. He was miraculously saved by the neck of his guitar which he used for protection from the roof caving down on him. His survival story was another outlet to express his social humanitarian engagement in Haiti, as attested by the video filmed by Belgian journalist  (You Tube Blood and Tears-Haiti Earthquake 3 Years Later). A year later in 2011, Gerard endured the tragic  loss of his daughter, Marialla at the age of only 28.

 

Gerard was  a kind, well-wishing man of noble sentiments.  For half a century, his favela guitar and his enchanting baritone voice rendered his deep yearnings to show love: the love of family, the love of peace, the love of social justice. 

“Love is for the soul what breath is for the body.”

----Gerard Magloire,

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