Toto Bissainthe

(1934-1994) – singer–songwriter, actor and activist

Toto Bissainthe was a Haitian actress and singer known for her innovative blend of traditional Vodou and rural themes and music with contemporary lyricism and arrangements. Born in Cap-Haïtien in 1934, she left Haiti at an early age to pursue her acting studies abroad. Toto trained as an actor in France and co-founded Les Griots in 1956, the first black theatre company in France. 

I worked with Toto when she was cast in a film directed by Haitian filmmaker, artist and journalist Elsie Haas in Paris in the early 1980s and was always struck by the combination of a unique voice, her effortless and truthful portrayal of characters with poise, grace and elegance.

Dominique Le Gendre

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