He hardly needs any introduction, his voice being his surest identification. Gracia Delva is the one I am referring to and on this occasion, he has teamed up with a powerhouse in Konpa dirèk, Serge Descard (Compalogie I and II) to produce a CD entitled Graciamania.
As the liner notes indicate, despite a long musical career, Gracia Delva had never before had a solo album and there could not have been a better combination than this collaboration with Serge Descard. In fact, the music has been written, composed and arranged by Descard and that is quite a task. Of course, this work is greatly facilitated by an excellent cast of musicians such as, among others, Nickenson Prud'homme on the keyboard, Dener Séide, Gabriel Laporte and, the omnipresent Shedley Abraham on drums. As I said in a previous Chronique, Shedley is everywhere and as you listen to his play, you understand why. His play his solid , creative and steady.
Those who are familiar with Descard's music will immediately recognize his sound; those who are not will notice how disciplined his music is. Descard pays much attention to the harmony of his music. Every note, every chord is precise and the musicians faithfully reflects the composer's feel. Right from the first tune, you hear this. The song flows smoothly and there is no noise. The brass section with trumpet player Julio Diaz, a veteran of Haitian music, and trombone player Jorge Dobal, sounds ever so softly, with a lot of feeling.
While all the songs are highly entertaining, I particularly like tune No.4 “So far from Jerusalem”. It is a beautiful melody which starts on a very soft piano, with Nickenson Prud'homme providing beautiful harmony. Gracia Delva, in his typical style, enhances the song with his singing, with intonations that only he can produce. Tune No. 5 “Yon nwit bò lanmè” showcases the acoustic guitar of Descard and Prud'homme's dexterity on the guitar. I wish this song lasted a bit longer. I thoroughly enjoyed tune No. 7, “Lè ou la”, a very pretty ballad. I have always deplored the fact that Haitian bands do not play enough slow songs, as they give priority to fast konpa songs. In that respect, I have remained conservative and fortunately, so has Descard who did not forget how the big bands of old always played in such mellow tones. Thus we have not one, but three nice slow melodies on the album. In fact – and this quite unusual, the album closes with this pretty, romantic and nostalgic melody which evokes such deep emotions. I already see the perfect setting for listening to this instrumental song: some dim light, a glass of wine and your better half near you . What else do you need?
Graciamania, Gracia delva and Serge Descard. A great collaboration and a great addition to your Haitian collection!
Help fight Haitian CD piracy. It is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde, for windows on Haiti, December 2008
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