Denise Joyce Auguste
She was born to be a musician – to love and teach music – to live and breathe music. Today her is synonymous with St. Lucian rhythm, musical folklore and song. She earned her Licentiate in Musical Education in 1967. She was the leader of the popular folk band Hewanorra Voices in the 1970s. For over two decades, Ms. Auguste almost single-handedly developed the music education broadcast to schools, along with manuals and follow up activities. She has coordinated music workshops for teachers in Dominica adn also served as a music tutor for Organization for Cooperation Overseas Development workshops in Winnipeg, Canada.
Ms. Auguste has published several articles on the folk music and traditions of St. Lucia and recently released a compilation of songs by the late Sessenne Descarte. She has received numerous awards throughout the years for her outstanding contribution to St. Lucia’s musical culture. She was name a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and in 2000, named as one of the most Outstanding Women of the twentieth century by the Organisation of American States.
Joyce Auguste produces Sessenne CD with help from LUCELEC
Joyce Auguste, one of St. Lucia’s veteran cultural leaders, will launch a compilation of the music of the late Sesenne Descartes during Nobel laureate Week. This will take place on Tuesday January 24th at the UWI Open Campus during a programme that will examine proposals to preserve the homes of the late Dame Sesenne Descartes and the Walcott brothers. Dame Sesenne’s home is in Mon Repos while the early home of the Walcott family is on Chaussee Road. Dame Sesenne died in 2010, while Roderick Walcott died in 2000.
Ms Auguste,the founder of the folk choir the Hewanorra Voices, had made recordings of a number of St. Lucian folk artistes for many years. These include, along with Sesenne Descartes, the late Florita Marquis, Rameau Poleon, the Police Band under the baton of the late Carlos Mynns, Charles Cadet, and others.
Ms. Auguste, who directed the schools’ music programme in the Ministry of Education for many years, has developed a project through which she can now make these valuable recordings available to the wider public. This music of Sesenne and others has never been heard before.
The new Sesenne recording is titled “The Magic of Sesenne ,” was recorded in 1975 when the Queen of Folk was in her prime, and consists of twelve songs. Electricity Company LUCELEC, has partnered with Ms Auguste, to produce this CD.
Ms Auguste will on Tuesday also launch her project, The Joyce Auguste Collection. With corporate sponsorship, she hopes to release other recordings of well known classic St. Lucian folk musicians in the near future. Sponsor LUCELEC will be on hand to participate in the launch.
The Magic of Dame Sesenne Descartes will soon be on sale in bookstores and other places.