Malou Beauvoir bio

For Immediate release
Haitian-American singer-songwriter Malou Beauvoir seeks spiritual healing in a
divided world with her Creole lyric version of the beloved hit “You Raise Me Up”
Due out March 31, 2021, “Kenbem” (Panthera Music International) reimagines the
soul-stirring Secret Garden / Josh Groban and Westlife classics to unite believers in
Vaudou and Christianity
Like all of us throughout this pandemic year, Malou Beauvoir has found herself craving
human connection during a time of unprecedented isolation. The radio has provided a
degree of solace, community and inspiration, prompting her to share songs that have
moved her in way that she hopes will stir similar emotions in her listeners.
Late last year, Beauvoir released her uplifting rendition of Steve Winwood’s classic
“Higher Love,” delivering a message of hope and empowerment at a time of crisis in
America and around the world. On March 31, 2021 she returns with “Kenbem,” a
soaring new version of the beloved hit song “You Raise Me Up” rewritten with her
Creole lyrics. Both songs continue the mission of her 2018 album Spiritwalker, on which
she celebrated the Vaudou spirits that embody and enrich the culture of Haiti and
conveyed their message of peace and awakening to the world at large.
“I’d heard ‘You Raise Me Up’ before, of course,” Beauvoir explains. “I always thought it
was a beautiful song, but when I heard it during the pandemic I really heard the deep
spirituality in it. Many Haitian immigrants are health workers, and they were going
through a really hard time, praying to the spirits and to God to get through this thing.
Plus, in Haiti, the fear of one more disaster looming over us was pretty difficult to deal
with. At that point, I sat down and the Creole lyrics just came out.”
“You Raise Me Up” was originally released in 2002 by the Norwegian-Irish duo Secret
Garden, written by the band’s Rolf Løvland with lyrics by the Irish author and songwriter
Brendan Graham. A year later, Josh Groban’s version climbed to the #1 spot on the
Billboard adult contemporary chart followed by Westlife’s UK No.1 and Record of the
Year cementing the song’s status as a modern classic. It’s since become a hit many times
over around the world, covered by more than a 1,500 hundred artists in over 40
Beauvoir heard something new and personal in the song, however. In her interpretation of
Graham’s lyrics, she found parallels to the schism between Vaudou practitioners and the
Christian church in Haiti, the country of her roots. The divide is deep-seated, dating back
to the Haitian Revolution at the turn of the 19th century.
When Beauvoir reached out to Graham for permission to rewrite his lyrics in Creole and
with this new interpretation, she was surprised to find that he had written the song with
similar ancient antipathies in mind. “I told Brendan that I’d stayed fairly close to his
original version, but instead of the open-ended spiritual force that he talks about, I wanted
to make the first verse about those who believe in the Christian God and the second one
about those who believe in the spirits and the ancestors. And he said, ‘I’m going to tell
you something really strange Malou. I’m Irish, and when I wrote this song I was thinking
about our ancient beliefs.’”
Subsequently reading Graham’s historical novel The Whitest Flower, Beauvoir
immediately found resonances with the suffering of the Irish people Ireland’s Great
Famine of 1845-1852, and the struggles that the Haitian people have endured through
natural and man-made disasters.
“The parallels are amazing,” she says. “Over one million Irish died during the Great
Famine. When you look at in comparison to the slavery that we Haitians experienced, it’s
amazingly close: they were forbidden from practicing their culture, from speaking their
language, from celebrating their ancestral religion. There’s a spiritual vibration in the
melody, which is what I think drew Brendan to write the lyrics.” Beauvoir’s lyrics find
common ground between the disparate faiths, finding echoes of the “zanj” spirits of
Vaudou in Christian angels.
Graham appreciated the heartfelt interpretation, saying, “A song like ‘You Raise Me Up’
thankfully garners many recordings and translations into various languages. Now and
again a version comes along that makes me sit up and pay attention. Such a version is
Malou Beauvoir’s recording and translation into her native Haitian Creole… Not alone is
it her sensual and soulful vocal expression of the song but she has also done something
quite unique. Her translation takes the ambiguous ‘you’ of the song and imbues it with
meaning from her own heritage and [Vaudou] culture, in a way that mirrors my own
understanding of the ‘you’ and its relation to a pre-Christian, Celtic culture.”
Beyond the specifics of Vaudou, Christianity and Celtic cultures, Beauvoir’s “Kenbem” –
like “You Raise Me Up” before it – finds something universal and extremely timely in
these spiritual reflections. “The ‘you’ of the song becomes an universal, cross-cultural,
connecting force,” continues Graham. “It is this conjoining of the universal – of all our
hopes, beliefs and gratitudes – at the core of the original lyric that makes Malou’s
translation so arresting and affecting. May she and all, go safely – be somehow ‘raised
up’ in these troubled times.”
Beauvoir shares that hope for her listeners around the world, and hopes that they find
some consolation and inspiration in “Kenbem” as we all struggle with health issues,
racial and political turbulence, and all the barriers to embracing our common humanity.
“I realized that during this pandemic, the only thing people had left in many cases was
their faith,” she says. “I felt that it was important to say, in this time when we’re all codependent, that we have to stop putting each other into categories. It’s time to embrace
the things that unite us rather than accentuating the things that are different.”

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