It seems that every year, new Haitian musical groups seem to spring out of the wood, coming out of nowere. One of the newest kids on the block is a formation called Do-La which recently released a CD entitled “Brassé”. I am no quite sure if this name reflects the kreyòl translation of the US dollar, or something else, but what is sure is that I find that the group sounds pretty good and has a very catchy rythm, even if I am not ready to say that its sound has a unique character. What is unmistakable though and gives the group its identity in my view, is the voice of Armstrong Jeune, a voice that you can pick anywhere.
In a previous Chronique, I had mentioned the multiple talents of singer Armstrong Jeune on the occasion of the review of his jazz CD. He is as much at ease singing Konpa or jazz for that matter and I like his intonation and his phrasing when he sings. The CD is enhanced by the contributions of a number of excellent musicians: Shedly Abraham on drums, Rousseau Telfort, an excellent guitarist and a host of others. All 16 songs on the CD are composed by Armstrong Jeune and the keyboardist Jean-Max Valcourt. This is a wonderful combination, for the melodies are nice and the lyrics are quite decent. For example, Tune No. 4 “Yo se fanm” is a ringing tribute to the woman. The lyrics, written by Armstrong Jeune, once again show how thoughtful a writer he is. Love , respect, courage, dedication, devotion, admiration, patience. Such are the feelings that pervade those lyrics. Tune No. 5, “Avec toi” is a nice, romantic, sincere ode to love between two people. In both of these songs the solos by the keyboardist are excellent. Tune No. 8, “M'ajenou” is interesting, as it is a kind of mix of reggae and slow konpa, alternating back and forth until it settles in the kind of slow, sweet konpa beat, while the piano is providing some harmonious lines underneath. This is the kind of Konpa you dance without ever getting tired. Tune No. 13, “A Love story”, is a wonderfully slow, lyrical, melodic song which seems to reflect a personal love story. I did not mention many of the other 16 songs, but believe me, they are all nice, catchy and entertaining.
All in all, you will enjoy this CD. The musicians are very good, the mixing is excellent and there is enough variety for everyone's taste. Personally, I like the fact that the lyrics are nice and not as flat as those I hear too often from other groups. It is a nice party CD, one you certainly want to have in your collection.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy, it is bad for everyone
Serge Bellegarde for Windows on Haiti, December 2007
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