Thursday, May 26, 2016

Moune de Rivel Honored in Paris Suburb of Clichy La Garenne

Moune de Rivel (1918-2014) was one of the best known and loved performers of Creole music in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Moune de Rival - La Grande Dame de la Chanson Créole
CD cover - Frémeaux & Associés

Born in Bordeaux of Guadeloupian parents, De Rivel (née Cécile Jean-Louis Baghio'ode) was exposed to Creole music at a very early age and eventually traveled the world as an ambassador of this music. In her heyday, she excelled at singing, guitar, piano, painting, and acting, and she performed in several films. She lived in the U.S. from 1946-1948 and was reportedly the first French entertainer, black or white, to go to the States after the war. During her two-year stay, she attended the Julliard School and was filmed for the 20th-Century Fox documentary Night-Club Boom.

De Rivel performed at popular Antillean night clubs in Paris such as La Canne à Sucre and La Boule Blanche. She also performed at La Rose Rouge, the cabaret-theater operated by Senegalese dancer Feral Benga.

For a short time, she even operated her own night club - Le Perroquet au Nid - near the Champs Elysées.

Among her many awards and citations, de Rivel received the Medaille de la Ville de Paris in 1967 and was named a Chevalier des arts et des lettres in 1997.

The non-profit association AGORA KARAYIB recently honored de Rivel with a photo exhibition called "Les horizons créoles de Moune de Rivel" in the northern Paris suburb of Clichy la Garenne. All the photographs on display were taken by photojournalist Foto Forey Fumey.

The exhibit was first displayed on May 15 in conjunction with a cultural exchange on the theme of Creole traditions at the Salle Heidenheim at 6, place du Marché.

From May 17-22, it was displayed at the Galerie "12 Avenue des Arts" at 86, rue de Paris. We attended a reception held at the gallery on May 20.

"Les horizons créoles de Moune de Rivel" at Galerie "12 Avenue des Arts"
© Discover Paris!

Duke Ellington and Moune de Rivel
© Discover Paris!

Dozens of people came to the gallery to pay tribute to her...

Reception attendees
© Discover Paris!

including her niece and grand niece:

Grand niece (name removed upon request) and Eliane David (niece)
© Discover Paris!

Fofo Forey Fumey is the photographer whose work was shown during the exhibit. He followed de Rivel's career for decades and was present at the gallery's reception to talk about this experience.

Fofo Forey Fumey and his photos
© Discover Paris!

Journalist Marie-Michaël Manquat gave a presentation about de Rivel, introduced de Rivel's relatives and Fumey, video-ed the festivities, and served refreshments.

Marie-Michaël Manquat and Fofo Forey Fumey
© Discover Paris!

Moune de Rival died on March 27, 2014 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Her funeral was held on April 1, 2014 at Notre-Dame-des-Champs Church in Paris. She is buried next to her mother, Fernande de Virel, in Montparnasse Cemetery.

Listen to de Rivel perform the song “Morne à l’Eau” from the album Joie et Nostalgie Créoles (Creole Joy and Nostalgia) by clicking HERE.


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Thursday, May 19, 2016

La Cima Charter School Tour of Luxembourg Garden - A First for Entrée to Black Paris Tours!

It's great to be back to blogging again!

Since the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition closed in mid-March, I've been on a mission to "take the show on the road".

Click here to find out how you can help!


A few weeks ago, Entrée to Black Paris had the immense pleasure of providing our Luxembourg Garden tour to 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds from La Cima Charter School in Brooklyn. It was the first time that ETBP has given a guided walking tour to participants of such a young age!

La Cima Charter School Scholars and Chaperones at the Luxembourg Garden
© Discover Paris!

Executive Director Tara Phillips contacted us to ask whether we could give the La Cima scholars a guided tour that would complement the students' curriculum. Our initial response was that we don't provide tours for students less than 14 years of age.

Director Phillips responded immediately by informing us that La Cima's vision as a school is to "develop scholars who have the intellectual capacity, social capital and the emotional strength of character to be change makers in their communities" and that their curriculum "encourages students to grapple with difficult issues when it comes to being Black in America, both from historical and current perspectives." She told us that the article they were given to read in preparation for the trip was Thomas Chatterton Williams' story in the premier issue of Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly: "Is Paris Still a Haven for Black Americans?"

ETBP's "Black History in and Around the Luxembourg Garden" was the perfect tour for the group. It provided an idyllic setting to discuss many aspects of race relations - past and present - in France and to compare them with race relations in the U.S. Among the topics presented were the Loi Taubira (which declares slavery and the slave trade crimes against humanity); the outstanding political legacy of French Guiana's native son, Gaston Monnerville; and the Paris experiences of African-American artists Loïs Mailou Jones and Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Bust of Gaston Monnerville
© Discover Paris!

The students were delightfully attentive and had opportunities to associate topics from the tour with various subjects they were studying at home.

Executive Director Tara Phillips and Monique Y. Wells
© Discover Paris!

Phillips had the following to say about the tour:

We learned about the Entrée to Black Paris tour from the US Embassy. Monique came highly recommended and accommodated us with a well-tailored tour for our group. Our group included 12 5th graders and 7 adult chaperones from a charter school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

We wanted the tour to be relevant to things our scholars have studied, including the experiences of Black Americans in Paris and other institutions that impact Black people around the globe. The tour met our expectations and we all learned a great deal about France’s role in the slave trade, famous Black American artists and writers who lived in Paris and several Black political leaders in Paris and their impact on government.

Students and chaperones alike enjoyed the tour. It definitely broadened all of our knowledge about the city and there were relevant connections made to our own lives in New York City.

Read Executive Director Phillips' entire testimonial here.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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