There is no doubt that this year, the initiative belongs to konpa groups. This Chronique examines yet a new group called Bèljazz, whose first released is entitled “Van vire”. It is comprised of a number of experienced konpa musicians like Edersse Stanis, Ralph Menelas and a number of famous guests. You find some pretty familiar names among them: Shedley Abraham ( once more), Nickson Mesidor, Alix Nozile, Nickenson Prud'homme and quite a few more who are unknown to me, I confess. But, they sound very good.
The liner notes indicate that the album is dedicated to the fans of Konpa dirèk. Indeed, they will be quite happy with this product. Producers Ralph Menelas and Edersse Stanis did an excellent job. The title tune “Van vire” aims at notifying everyone out there that the band is here and intends to impose its presence on the musical scene. If this CD is any indication, it has succeeded. The music is well written and well executed by some stellar musicians. Listen to the key board work in tune No. 2 “Relation'n”, for example, or to drummer Shedley Abraham . The melody evolves smoothly. I love the bass player's touch on his instrument. He matches well with the drummer to produce a wonderful feel.
Of the 11 songs on the CD, Edersse Stanis and Ralph Menelas join forces on 8 of them and this combination works well. The music is set, the rhythm section is steady and the brass section does an excellent job, like in tunes no. 4 and 5, to cite only those examples. Tune no. 6 showcases the excellent writing talents of Ralph Menelas. This is one of those melodies that remain with you after you have heard the song.
I should make special reference to tune no. 7 “S.O.S” composed by Edersse Stanis. It is a very poignant reminder of what happened in September 2008, when hurricane Hanna devastated Haiti. No one will remain indifferent to these lyrics, particularly when the singer says “What is it that we are paying for?...” and he makes an appeal to the leaders to do something The whole song is a powerful message. The next tune “Problem nou” contains an equally powerful message: this situation is our problem, we are dealing with our culture. And the lyrics are referring to the fact that we need structure, so that the CDs are not copied and the artists can survive. I wholeheartedly share this view.
All in all, this is a very entertaining CD which combines good music, good arrangements, good musicianship and meaningful lyrics. That is why I do not hesitate to recommend it for your collection, you will enjoy it.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy, it is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti, December 2008.
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