Diocesan News

Borno Brothers ‘Band’ Together for Haiti

FLATBUSH — It’s a case of “band aid.”

Father St. Charles Borno, pastor at Church of the Holy Innocent and Our Lady of Refuge in Flatbush, has joined with his nine brothers to produce an album of Haitian-style worship music. The album is called “Chwazi Jezi” (“Choose Jesus”).

Proceeds from the album, which is being released on Nov. 30, will benefit a school in Haiti that one of Father Borno’s brothers opened in the early 2000s with the encouragement of his late mother, Sylvie, who died in 2008.

Jean Marion, 46, the youngest of the 10 Borno brothers, remembers his mother singing and praising the Lord around the house when he was just two or three years old.

“I learned from her,” he said.

The siblings — ranging from Jean Marion to Robin, 63 — love music. They all sing, and five of them compose original songs. Two years ago, they began to create an album together.

“It’s something fantastic because we’ve been thinking about releasing this album for a long time, all 10 brothers,” Jean Marion said.

The project was international. Five brothers still live in Haiti, and the other five are scattered across the eastern United States, including Father Borno. Two of the brothers — Jean Martin and Roussel — also live in Brooklyn. The music was recorded and produced remotely.

Father Borno helped compose the songs, and he was one of the singers. When he was a seminarian serving at St. Jerome’s, Flatbush, during his pastoral year, he started a musical group called Troupe Eclat, which gave him the chance to compose songs. That group never released a record, but in recent years, Father Borno has worked with his brothers on music.

Accene Johnson, a professional musician in Haiti, Jean Franz, Demeseva and Jean Marion also compose music. Father Borno said they written have so many songs that the albums will just start coming one after another.

“There are some songs on there that you can sit down and meditate. There are some songs that are dancing songs, but praising God and really joyful songs,” Father Borno said. “It’s something special.”

The new album has 10 songs; nine are in Creole French, and one is in English. The brothers hope some of the nine Creole French songs can be used in Creole celebrations of the Eucharist, and the sole English song, “Psalm 67,” can be sung as part of English liturgies.