It has been 30 years now since this group has been performing on the Haitian scene and it is going strong, very strong as its latest CD shows. Yes, System Band is back in force with its album entitled “Nan Building Nan”. In my own humble opinion, I consider it System Band's best work in its last 3 or 4 albums, although I suspect its many fans may not agree with me.
System Band's band booming horn section remains as solid as ever. You feel it like right from the introduction and throughout the CD. To tell you the truth, I like all 12 songs on the album. The music is tight, the rhythm is solid and steady. Lead singer and Maestro Isnard Douby is his usual self: most exuberant and talkative; you can hear all the musicians really enjoying themselves. If in the studio they talk that much, you can imagine how animated they must be in a live performance.
I found the tunes extremely relaxing and entertaining. The band does not play loud and the mixing is very good. Listen for example to Tune No. 3 “Wetam'm wetam'm” or tune No. 5 “Solitude”. You will hear how set the rhythm is, how serene the music sounds. Everything clicks right on time. This is the kind of Konpa you dance without ever feeling tired. The horn section, arranged by Jason Wilson and Nicolina Ferrentino (from Zenglen) , sounds very smooth and harmonious.
Special mention should be made of tune No. 7 “Hommage a Ti Mitou”, a beautiful tribute to Fritz Frédérick, well known by System Band' fans for his very special phrasing of the songs in the repertoire of the band. Fans will remember Fritz Frederic's contributions to such albums like “Jan'l pase li pase, Kote m ye la?, Viagra” and others. He was a permanent presence then. Written by Michel Ange Bazile, the lyrics are a fitting tribute to his memory, as well as the melody. Paying homage to F. Frederic, “Ti Mitou” is a host of great konpa singers like Roger Eugène, “Shoubou”, Jean-Max St. Victor (Ska Sha), Raymond Cajuste (Bossa Combo), King Kino (Phantoms), Alan Cavé (Zin), Gazman Pier (Nu Look) and more. Very touching indeed. Another excellent tune is No. 9 “Pa leve main ou sou li“. Even though the correct spelling should have been “Pa leve men w sou li”, I really like he theme of the song. It is a condemnation of men beating on their women, whether it is a girl friend, or a wife or any women. In a very telling passage, the singer says “How would you feel if it were your sister?” It is a very thoughtful song.
The fans of System Band will thoroughly enjoy this CD. The music is nice, the mixing is very good, and I also like the lyrics, something that I always pay attention too on Haitian CDs, for too many of our artists just do not care about what the song says, as long as the music is entertaining. That is not the case here as this CD is well rounded. So, you should also add this CD to your System Band collection.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy, it is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti, November 2007
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