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Biography

Emerante de Pradines Morse, (born Emerante de Pradines September 24, 1918 – January 6, 2018) was a Haitian singer, dancer and folklorist. She was the daughter of entertainer Auguste de Pradines (better known as Ti Candio or Kandjo).

Emerante's mother, Amarante Jean Pierre, implored Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite order, to give her a child, a baby girl, "promising that in return she would devote this child to the virgin saint." Emerante was born when her mother was "on vacation at Rivière Froid".

De Pradines went to Washington, DC, in 1941 as a featured singer and dancer in a troupe led by Lina Mathion Blanchet. After her return to Haiti, de Pradines performed in a regular concert series at the Rex Theater in Port-au-Prince. She often sang renditions of traditional vodou songs, "then a novelty in Haitian social life".

De Pradines sang Vodou songs in Creole on the radio when it was dangerous to do so, and was the first Haitian singer to sign a recording contract with a record company. She married Richard M. Morse, a Latin-American scholar and writer from the United States who she met while studying in New York with Martha Graham. Her albums were released internationally, including by Smithsonian Folkways in the United States.

She and her husband had one daughter, Marise, and one son, Richard Auguste. The son, also known as Richard A. Morse, also became a musician and prominent public figure in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

De Pradines Morse was one of six women profiled in a documentary film by director Arnold Antonin entitled Six Exceptional Haitian Women (Six femmes d’exception). She was also the focus of a 2017 article in the Journal of Haitian Studies. One commentator wrote that "Given the time in Haitian social history when Emerante de Pradines chose to sang vodou songs, popular songs, she stands almost by herself in Haitian history."

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