CARREFOUR, HAITI - DECEMBER 2011:
Bad things sometimes happen to good people. While he was working for Médecins Sans FrontiA¨res/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as a hospital administrator in troubled Haiti, Eyal Tapiero volunteered his spare time and expertise to record some remarkably talented hip-hop artists in the community. But just days before his return to Canada, Tapiero arrived to his Haitian residence to find it engulfed in flames. His MacBook Pro was burned, his backup drive and music collection were destroyed, and his Metric Halo ULN-2 emerged from a drawer as hot as if it had been roasted in an oven.
"During my time in Haiti, I developed a close bond with many of my Haitian coworkers and found that some of them had aspirations of being hip-hop stars," Tapiero said. "They had talent, but they couldn't afford to get demo tapes made." While on holiday break in Canada, Tapiero decided to take some recording equipment back to Haiti in order to do a little production work in his free time. "I wasn't looking to do anything too complicated," he said. "I had my MacBook Pro, Sennheiser HD 25 headphones which were invaluable for monitoring and tracking, a Shure SM57, Audix i5, CAD GXL-3000, and an M-Audio Oxygen 25 key midi controller and my trusty ULN-2 all running through Ableton Live."
Despite less than ideal recording conditions, the raw talent and spirit of the performers were making the tracks sparkle with life. The noise of the nearby highway, the loud generator that droned day and night, and the intolerable heat could not deter those in the mesmerizing grip of musical inspiration. The Metric Halo ULN-2 and MacBook Pro were ideal. With minimal fuss and with immunity to the city's frequent power outages, Tapiero captured some high-quality tracks. "We had two monitor mixes, full recording, and full metering all through one box running power from a laptop," he said.
His residence fire occurred just one week shy of Tapiero fulfilling his one-year contract with Médecins Sans FrontiA¨res/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The neighbors reported that the fire raged for at least twenty-five minutes before it was subdued. "I was devastated," Tapiero said. "I lost all my personal belongings and electronic equipment. My backup drive, which held all of our recordings and production archives, was destroyed. My music collection was destroyed. None of my friends ever got a final copy of the demo tape. It was terrible. While the ULN-2 had escaped direct contact with the flames, I thought its insides were fried for sure but I still held on to it."
Several months later, Tapiero learned the insurance for the fire fell through. And since he was constantly traveling and without a new computer, Tapiero didn't see the value in having the ULN-2 looked at by a professional. "But back in Canada, my brother urged me to give it another try," he recalled. "So, I plugged the ULN-2 into to his MacBook Pro with nothing more than a FireWire cable and a dim hope. But to my surprise, it worked! We tested all the ports and functions, and everything was working as it should. I was shocked and I couldn't believe my luck!"
Inspiration restored, Tapiero has begun saving up for a new MacBook Pro. Thanks to the intervention of Metric Halo's Allen Rowand and the generosity of Alto Music (a Metric Halo and Apple dealer), Tapiero will get his new laptop faster than he thought.
"Tapiero wrote to thank us for making a product that could withstand the torture test of being in a burning room," said Rowand. "After I read his letter I contacted Jon Habor at Alto to see if he could do anything to help out and he immediately agreed. It's always terrible when someone loses their property, but it's even worse when it happens to someone who's doing humanitarian work. We're happy that we can help Tapiero get back to recording."
To find out more about the humanitarian backdrop for this story, Médecins Sans FrontiA¨res/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), interested readers can visit:
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