About Haitian music and change and progress

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Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:06 am

Gifrants, I agree with you.

Personally, I heard 3 songs from your cd. I think that they are great! Not trying to be on your soft side. But, I give credit where it's due.

I used to criticize musicians longtime ago. Until recently, probably five years ago. I decided to take an accoustic guitar lesson... Man, it was hard! I RESPECT MUSICIANS!

Anyway, I think also you should, as a Musician, accept someone's choice though. Like, I said before, I don't have a problem with it.

But your music is a little more sophisticated. In terms of music, Haitians do not like or wouldn't be connected to that style. I remember two of my favorite groups, Magnum and Caribbean did not have that much success!
Well, System, Sweet Mickey and T-Vice were more popular. It is to show how some people are not interested in the essence of music.

Also, I think our mainstream musicians are very lazy. There is no innovation in their rythm. We were knocked out by Exile One and Grammacks in the seventies. Then, in the nineties, Kassav came. And you can see or hear the difference between Konpa and Zouk.

In terms of singers, I would like to ask anyone. What are the criteria to be a Good Singer? Who is or are great singers? Is voice important in singing?

leonel

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Wed Apr 12, 2006 8:02 am

Leonel,

The issue of beautiful voice for singers has always been a puzzling one for me. After a lot of soul searching on it over the years, I concluded it depends on what you are singing about. If the combination of accompanying melodies, emotional lyrics and non-discordant voice touch the listeners, you are a beautiful singer. It does not matter who is playing the accompanying music for you. I was reminded of that two days ago when I went to a concert by Kenny G, one of the rare instrumentalists to have had a wide audience in non-classical music.

Take Henry Celestin, for example. I always thought that the guy had the worst voice of any popular singer of Haitian music of my time. Yet, he and The Difficiles de Petionville were very popular. Now, there was a caveat with Difficiles. They were followed by the Haitian elite. In Haitian music, once the elite follows you, everybody else will. That was the case with Difficiles which, not only had Henry Celestin as singer, but also were forging a new style in the mini-jazz era, when there were no wind instruments in the music.

I always thought Nat King Cole had one of the most beautiful singing voices to me. At the same time, I always wondered if the lyrics of his music and the melodies were not influencing my taste!

J-M.

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:39 am

I don't agree with leonel who says Haitians don't like sophisticated music. And I don't agree with Marcien who says Konpa is a mess.

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:42 pm

Sorry, Gel!
I didn't check my writing before sending it. I meant to say Some or a lot of. Because, I am against generalization. I wanted to focus on the mainstream Nouvel Jenerasyon an...
Map mache sou pingga m avE w papa!
Mwen eskize m pou fOt mwen fE a.
Padone m pou peche m. Mwen tElman ap prepare m pou m tounen lakay mwen. Bagay yo tEt anba...
leonel

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Post by Liline » Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:35 pm

Wow, I haven't been here for a few days, but I found this post yesterday while browsing through the forum, and decided to jump in.


I believe that the appreciation of art, any art for that matter, is a question of personal taste. Yes, in some areas there are ways to evaluate certain technical aspects of it, but in the end, judging whether something is good or bad, is all a matter of personal taste.

There will always be "self-made" music critics, DJ's, and such, but you must remember, if they are popular or in demand, it is because they have found people who agree with their points of view or respect their points of view, and appreciate their work. Which can only mean I would assume, that they are doing SOMETHING right. Sometimes I want to hear what a "regular and everyday" person thinks about a song or album, I don't really need an "expert" or a "professional opinion", cause when it comes down to it, it's a matter of whether someone appreciates it or not. A song might not be perfect technically speaking, as in they played a note or chord wrong, etc., but that doesn't necessarily mean that the song is not good. If it doesn't sound right when I hear it, I don't need a professional to tell me that, except if I want to get technical.

Marcien, while you make some very interesting points, and there are some points I agree with and some I don't, there is one thing I think we should all remember, we cannot force people to like something. You cannot force people to appreciate your or someone else's work. Your music can be, technically, perfectly played and perfectly sung, and someone will still end up not liking it.


Bon mezanmi, I have to run. M'ap retounen pita anko.

Oh before I go, I'll back up Gelin. What exactly do you guys qualify as "sophisticated" music? And Marcien I would love to hear why you consider Konpa a mess. Should prove interesting. :D

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Post by admin » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:51 pm

Liline, your points are well taken. One of America's great Jazz singers, when prompted to define precisely her art, had this surprising answer: "What is Jazz? As far as I know, there are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music." (I heard it on WBGO 88.3FM, my favorite radio station for the last quarter century. I will not name the author of the quote, because I no longer recall it with absolute certainty and I would not like to get it wrong.) Good music and bad music! That is obviously an oversimplification, but it is still a telling observation: one does not have to be a musical genius or extraordinarily loaded with musical knowledge in order to appreciate what he/she hears. I am certain that musical appreciation is a complex cerebral process, but the Creator or Nature has endowed us with brains that do much of the processing for us in a sub-cognitive state, leaving us with an intuitive but unmistakable knowledge of what we like or do not like. Furthermore, everyone is different, musical tastes are individual and influenced by one's cultural affinities, etc. So while professional musicians may have to be aware of the mathematical aspects of music composition and other complexities, a reviewer can dispense with such technicalities and relate to the rest of us what we tend to process intuitively in any case: in the reviewer's taste, is the music good or bad? In the end, that's what it comes down to. We do not listen to music to write a dissertation about it, unless we happen to be music majors in search of a thesis. We listen to music, and we like it or we do not.

What kind of music do I personally like? Not many people may be interested in that question, and I certainly do not blame them. But there is a point in my telling you. You will discover why. In terms of world music, my tastes are varied, ranging from classical to Opera, Jazz, Reggae, South African "Soweto" beat, Cape Verdean "Morna", Brazilian samba, traditional Cuban "son", etc. And of course Haitian Music. But what kind of Haitian Music? I know of at least one person in our conversation who immediately jumped to the erroneous conclusion that I was an aficionado of Konpa, in spite of the fact that the music that I carefully laid out on Winterludes speaks volumes about my personal music tastes. I certainly like some Konpa and consider it a valid musical genre like all the rest. I would not call any musical genre a mess. The inescapable truth is that some of it will be good and some of it will be bad. How much of it is good and how much of it is bad is a question we could debate ad vitam aeternam, without ever reaching a satisfying conclusion, because the answers to that question are so personal and so very subjective. Sharing our impressions is of course an enriching exercise, because it makes us reach deep within ourselves to discover what exactly moves us in a certain way or another. But whatever we feel, it would be unproductive to even try imposing it on others, no matter how learned we may have come to think we are in those matters. It's the exchange that is interesting, even enriching. Not the doctoral pronouncements.

I like a variety of Haitian musical genres. Currently the one that excites me the most is typically Haitian-American, the fusion of straight African-American Jazz with underlying themes of Haitian traditional music. Have you listened for instance to Buyu Ambroise and the Blues in Red Band's interpretation of such Haitian ballads or songs as "Kote moun yo", "Konviksyon", and other extraordinary soulful renditions? I am not going to try to convince anyone that is what they should be listening to, but through Winterludes, I can at least offer them the opportunity of listening to music that I like and personally selected for them. Are my choices purely subjective? You bet they are! They could not be anything but.

I once asked Gifrants about his perception of Konpa's role in Haitian culture. His answer was most interesting and was laid out over several posts. For some strange reason, however, he seemed to have made up his mind that since I asked the question, I must be a die-hard Konpa fan. I never understood how such conclusions can be reached so quickly, especially when he had previously never met me and did not know a thing about what I really like. But then again, if I happened to be a die-hard Konpa fan, I don't see what the mortal sin would be in that. It's just that I am not, and I do think that Konpa is overly represented in practically all Haitian music stores, to the detriment of other great Haitian musical traditions. I do hope that crass commercialism will not eventually kill them. This is why I strongly encourage everyone to support the independent music producers that they come across and that they enjoy. From what I hear, Michel Martelly is a multi-millionaire, so we will never have to worry about him and the few others who have reached comparable levels in popularity. But what about a Pierre-Rigaud Chéry (to cite only one) ... what about those soulful and extraordinarily talented musicians that never made a name for themselves because there was not enough shelf space to accommodate them? Well, that is the reversal of general availability which I wanted and still desire to address through Winterludes. The work is far from finished, but the direction that I have taken is hopefully clear. We should embrace all the good aspects of our rich African-Caribbean-American music tradition across the full diversity of its genres, from Konpa to Rasin (Roots), Traditional, and Jazz.

Anyway, that's my non-expert, non-professional view of the questions that have been raised. I have also compiled what Gifrants has already written about the value of Konpa in Haitian culture, to finish up with "a professional opinion" which Gifrants has written in previous instances on our forum.

[quote]You see, we have to define what culture is in the Haitian psyche. I refuse to talk about the illiterate. Let's talk about culture to the intellectuals, the ones who supposedly know how to read, the ones with credentials...

You have to be a Haitian poet to understand. You have to be a Haitian writer to understand. You have to be a Haitian artist to understand. You have to be a TRUE AND GOOD HAITIAN MUSICIAN to understand...

We are not talking here about Sweet Mickey, Carimi, Zin, Phantoms, Zenglen, System Band and the list goes on and on. But, these are the icons of Haitian music, which is also part of our culture. I never went to see any of those musical groups. You know why? It is not a matter of taste. Culture has nothing to do with trash. Those musical groups are highly representative of who we really are. They are not getting better. We are not getting better either.

Culture? Haitians interested in Culture? Says who? .... Haitians do not give a damn about their own culture. These are people who are awfully confused. Most of those who are not, keep trying every day to forget who they are. Their emotion about Haiti is just on the surface, plainly superficial. Their enthusiasm about Haitian culture, is just about konpa, and it is just for their libido. Believe me, Haitian intellectuals are on the top of the list.

Maybe, you would understand why François Duvalier put in place the Department of Social Welfare--Bien-être social. He knew them so well.

My apprehension about "Twoubadou" here and there by a bunch of ...talented musicians, took to the air waves in Boston and in New York to openly criticize this big deviation. At least for the record, someone did something about and wrote about it... The truth about who we are is so ugly, that no one really wants to face this horrendous monster inside of us. As long as we want to be seen as trying what we can without removing him, we will achieve nothing as a collectivity. Yes, some of us will be successful. But most of us will be stuck within that mud that scrambles all perspectives.

I'm not here to please people who are mostly interested in feeling some trivial pleasure. The poor mental of level of most of my people leads them to a poor level of appreciation.

As far as I am concerned, as long the travestite is your star, as long as Carimi with their pre-programmed songs is your idol, I won't waste my time talking about haitian music. But when I do talk, I talk with no malice and with objectivity.

The tone seems arrogant, doesn't it? Obviously, you do expect Sweet Mickey, Carimi, Tabou Combo, System Band, Phanthoms, Zin, D-Zine, Zenglen, Top Vice, T-Vice, Djakout Mizik to be so bold, not Gifrants.

You have made them the stars they wanted to be. Alleluia!

By the way, what are they playing?

When it comes to arts and culture, it is not a really a matter of personal taste, when reviewing and judging THE POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE ARTIST TO HIS COMMUNITY, COUNTRY OR TO THE WORLD.

It's not enough to point out my arrogance. You tell me: WHAT A HELL HAVE WE BENEFITED FROM OUR POP MUSIC, --YOUR KONPA MANIA, YOUR KONPA MAKYAVYEL AND SO ON?

YOU TELL ME? With those insanities, mediocre clichés of basic chords wrongly used, the incessant LAGE L, LAGE L, mental and physical masturbations that do not make dance an art at all, YOU TELL ME?

Show me your stars in the dark halls leaving functions managers disgusted but willing to charge much more for the rental of the hall. Tell me about those marvelous fights, the firemen and the police officers arresting thugs and respectable-immoral participants.

It is you and your stars? Isn't it? Am I lying?

... First, I m truthful. I gave to myself what belongs to myself--my talent, my sense of responsibility, my pride, my cause to do for HAITIAN MUSIC WHAT YOUR STARS WON'T DO AND CANNOT DO. Secondly, these are your stars. They look stupidly dull under my pen.

Tenyen limyè a! Konpa, music...in darkness. Enjoy your libido!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I do not have () a kind attitude at all regarding Konpa. First, I do regret the fact that it was Nemours Jean-Baptiste, who got all the fame and recognition, not Weber Sicot. Sicot was far much a better musician than Nemours. I'm not going into the details of arrangement techniques of Nemours Jean-Baptiste. Some of them were awful.

I did enjoy the Gypsies, the Difficiles, Les Pachas du Canapé Vert, les Vikings, Les Fantaisistes de Carrefour, les Shleu-Shleu, les Loups Noirs. Those guys for beginners did a good job as artists coping with their times. I won't forget Les Frères Déjean whose knowledge about music was already obvious. Later, the Bossa Combo would add to the flavor of diversity and creativity in Konpa.

My problem with Konpa started after Exile One and Les Grammacks came to Haiti. The RIDICULOUS COPYCAT era began, and we are still living it. You see, we can point out a lot of decent Haitian singers, pretty talented guitar players. We do not have too many good bass players, too many keyboard players, and too many good drummers. Good horn players are very rare in Haiti. The new instrumentation required more knowledge about music. That's precisely why it takes countless hours for a Haitian musical to rehearse one song.

More knowledge, more creativity, more practice, I mean more good practice, brings big improvement. Konpa “evolves” under pressure. Exile One and Grammacks brought a big change. The second change will be coming from Kassav. Konpa went down the drain.

Let me say meanwhile that Magnum Band, Zeklè, Caribbean Sextet, les Frères Déjean, Edy Brisseaux still remain the true icons of Konpa. It's not a matter of taste. It's a matter of objectivity. In the case of our country, we just cannot afford to produce anything that's not competitive on the international scene cultural materials, agricultural products or technological products, the last mention makes me a dreamer. By the way, I miss the Zenglen of Gary Pérez. I also believe he is a very good singer.

The inability to really compete with the music of Kassav, and other Caribbean bands, has forced the Konpa musicians to use a very delicate technology, which most knowledgeable musicians can do without programming and sequencing. Now, we have Haitian musicians, and we are forced to call them musicians, going on stage with preprogrammed music. God forbid the sequencer does not work, or God forbid, this diskette is nowhere to be found, our MUSICIANS cannot just perform.

I am not going over the TWOUBADOU movement, which translates again the determination and the complaisance of most Haitian musicians to do the easiest thing always in music. Haitian folk music has everything
sophisticated level of conceptualization, even though it sounds simple and easy. The Konpa musicians just use the sound, forget about the spiritualism.

I do not question Konpa as a part of our culture. I deplore this great lack of creativity among most of those popular icons to make Konpa a COMPETITIVE GENRE in our culture not only with the music, but also the expression of this music. In other words, being able to perform ON STAGE, WITH BIG LIGHTS ON and secondly, TO DANCE THE MUSIC FOR DANCE IS AN ART.

BY PLAYING KONPA IN THE DARK, OBVIOUSLY THE INTEREST IS NOT ON THE PERFORMANCE, AND THE ART IS NOT IN THE DANCE. SO, KONPA CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE HIGHLY REPRESENTATIVE OF HAITIAN MUSIC AND CULTURE.

In our current situation of a nation struggling with our misery, the stigma, the burden we carry to prove to ourselves that we are much better, we just cannot afford low productivity, lack of professionalism, lack of sense of responsibility. We cannot and not let anyone to lower his or her standard. If he or she chooses to do, he or she should not get the seal of our pride, our recognition, and our support.

This has nothing to do with my being a frustrated artist, looking for appreciation. It is just plain a matter of taking constructive steps in order to maintain a high standard of our culture, which conveys the expressions of who we are. Sometimes, it amazes me to see how most Haitian musicians make music sound so easy by hearing them talk. They also make it sound like it is impossible for foreigners, especially for White people, to play their music the way they play it. Music is highly scientific. Feelings come with talent and self-confidence. If we can excel in singing opera, or playing classical music, why do we think somebody else cannot play our music as well as we do, or better than we do. In fact, if we are thriving in excelling in everything we do, we will be surprised how people all over the world will make it challenge to embrace our music. Musicians around the world find Brazilian music a challenge, the bossa nova and the samba. It is happening because the Brazilians make it challenge for them, and excel in doing so.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What have I done for Haitian music? How many people do you really think can answer that? I have no problem if someone does not like my music. But, I will have a serious problem if a music critic points out comments or suggestions that are not objective. Still, I believe that I'm doing something vey good for the Haitian music. It's not egomania, or megalomania. I'm not into fame or glory. I'm just doing my duty.
[/quote]

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:59 am

Very Harsh, but True!

Gifrants touched so much truth, I don't really know where to start.

Personally, I loved Konpa and still do! Some groups are making an effort to innovate. But the majority of the New Generation is lazy.

It seems like one does not need to be a musician to play in those groups. Although, I like Sweet Mickey. But, it is personal. Mickey is a great businessman who knows how to market himself. I've known Michel when we lived the same neighborhood. Therefore, it is a matter of supporting someone you knew, I guess.

I also believe if Michel didn't make that very smart move to associate himself with a certain group of people from the elites, it would have been impossible for him to make it successfully. It is not by chance that He used "Sweet Mickey de Petion-Ville", instead of Carrefour!

This is our Reality!

Myself, I like so many groups during my youth. For instance, I like Fantaisistes, Difficiles, Freres Dejean, Skah Shah, Tabou, Djet X and my two Favorites, Magnum and Caribean.

I understand that I am getting old. But, I believe the Thuggish style which was mostly influenced by the American Hip Hop, Rap Artists in Haitian Music make it even worse.

I wouldn't be like Gifrants to generalizing it. But, He (Gifrants) touched a big Issue here. He has touched the fact that some of our Brothers and Sisters accepted or loved unfinished jobs. They are conditioned to love mediocrity. It is one of our biggest problems!

This is a very Harsh Reality! We've seen it with our short-sighted Politicians!

I can not dissect Gifrants'quotes, but, he has some terrific points.

Some of us are conditioned to that siwEl sound from the keyboards that is the go ahead signal to our famous Rub a Dub.

I was never a musician. As a matter of fact, I wasn't born to be a musician at all. I've tried. But, music was Leonelophobic even though I am musicophillic. I was more an athlete! the only instrument which I was good at, was my mouth. I can sing or play any music without any note left! Unfortunately, I couldn't be a musician.

Although, I respect any musician. But, I believe nowadays, one only needs a pre-program keyboard to play our Konpa. Carimi, T-Vice and the others are doing it!

By the way, mwen panse ke chak moun gen gou diferan. Men sepandan, si nou wè on moun renmen labou, nap panse ke moun sa gen pwoblèm. Se pa vle mwen vle trete konpa de labou non. Se pou m montre nou byen ke tout moun gen diferan gou. Men gen lòt ki gen gou kafe anmè...

leonel

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Post by admin » Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:17 am

[quote]I can sing or play any music without any note left![/quote]
I can hardly imagine that, Leonel! It's too bad we did not know... You could have given us a show.

[quote]I wouldn't be like Gifrants to generalizing it.[/quote]
Yet, that is the one problem that I find in your note, as well as Gifrantz's. Too much generalization of the worst kind, and a condemnation that approaches the level usually associated with religious reprobation. Can't we agree that Konpa is pretty much like any other musical genre, in that there will be some good Konpa and some lazy Konpa, maybe even some atrocious Konpa? Why the reference to "Labou" that is then quickly withdrawn? It would be much more informative to say whose band's brand of konpa you consider "labou" (then people who trust you might avoid buying their records). But this business of throwing mud almost indiscriminately will hit the faces of a lot of good musicians, quite unnecessarily.

I do not care if one does not like konpa at all! I don't even care if one does not like African-American Jazz or traditional Cuban son (even though... how couldn't you?) But the fact of the matter is that one will never see me pressing the buttons on my radio in search of country music. Is it because country music is bad as a genre? No, let's just say that it simply does not appeal to me, for one reason or another. Much of Eastern music, such as Indian, I can't even begin to relate to. Yet, I identified instantly with Cape Verdean morna (and it's a whole lot more than just Cesaria Evora). For the fans, I am sure there is good country music and bad country music. Good Indian music and bad Indian music. Good morna and bad morna. How are we going to develop a good sense of what is good and what is bad in music if we spend so much of our energies in cultural self-flagellation?

As for Haitians' identification as base sexual masturbation seekers, why don't you and Gifrants go and form a fundamentalist Protestant Church out there? Call it the Church of Bad Konpa! Or the Church of Reformed Amoral People seeking Sinful Pleasures in the form of Bad Konpa and Obscurity? Who knows, guys, perhaps you would have a wide following! But that in itself is not going to promote good music...

So, I would suggest that we relent on being so self-righteous and simply talk about our personal music tastes, without the specter of wholesale moral condemnation.

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:25 pm

Even though it is from friendly fire, I could not help but come to the rescue of my beloved konpa under such heavy artillery.

[quote]Personally, I loved Konpa and still do! Some groups are making an effort to innovate. But the majority of the New Generation is lazy.[/quote]

Frankly, in the past fifty years, I can't seem to remember anything Haitian that has evolved that much and always fine tuning their trade. What saved Haitian music primarily was the ability of the artitst to leave Haiti and find more fertile grounds in the United States to express their musical talents. Without it, starting with the group Latino and others, Haitian music would have resembled the country today. Instead, it is a thriving art. If you don't believe me, try to go to a Carimi "bal" in Miami on a Saturday night!

By the time I became conscious of the existence of music, the group Okalbas was on his way out, Jazz des Jeunes was at the peak of his time, and Konpa Direct and Kadans Ranmpa were in full swing of competition. Haitian music was shaking out the Latin dependence it seems to have been under, before. By that, I mean the Isa El-Saieh type. Then came Septentrional and Tropicana. Although they were just a variant of the Jazz des Jeunes, the beat of their music was slightly different. Then came the mini jazz revolution, with Fantaisistes de Carrefour, Tabou Combo, Shleu-Shleu, getting rid of the trumpets and the organ. Still, they maintained the saxophones as the leading instrument. Overseas, groups like Volo Volo, Latino, then followed by Skah Shah were bringing an exotic flavor to the Konpa. It must be noted that all that while, the Konpa was still molded by the jazz structure of tunes dominated by musical instruments melodies then lyrics followed by an instrumental solo which was the piece of resistance of the tunes played in merengues. In addition, you had the boleros where the singer was really the feature of the music. But, they were less than twenty percent of the groups' repertoire.

Bossa Combo and the Ambassadors continued to maintain the organ. Then came Les Difficiles followed by Gypsies. These two got rid of the saxophones and the organ, but added a second guitar. The influence here was more the heavy metal type of the rock 'n roll. All the while, Bossa, Ambassadeurs, Septen, Tropic continued to survive on the fringes. Other groups like Koupe Kloue, Rodrigue Millien, Toto Necesite thrived within their niche market. Frères Dejean followed by System Band revived the trumpets and the two-to-three saxophones. Then in the late 80s, groups like Zenglen started to experiment again with fast konpas and a latin beat. Meanwhile Scorpio, Ti Manno continue to dominate the music scene in Haiti.

In the 80s, Michel Martelly, modeled after Ti Manno, continued to experiment with a movement where the singer became the center of entertainment. The new groups, Carimi, Ti-Vice, Konpa Kreyol, took it to new plateau by almost eliminating the long instrumental solo in the middle of the tunes and made the new tunes and alternate of choruses, short instrumental melodies, and strong lyrics with deep social undertones the main attractions of a tune. Lyrics of songs like Ayiti Bang Bang by Carimi, Kimele'm by Konpa Kreyol and Child Support by Zenglen shifted the emphasys in Haitian music to the lyrics. This is without mentioning Pwoblèm Mwen by Top Alderman.

To me, the lyrics of Konpa music in the past ten years may have been at their best since I can remember. To make it even more interesting, the new groups, with Zin, Carimi, etc., slowed down the beat to leave voices as the primary form of entertainment in Haitian music. People in the French Caribbean islands mostly listen to Haitian music, to the point that groups like Carimi have summer tours in Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Martin, Guyana, La Dominique, etc., that are mostly sold out. For a genre to keep reinventing itself every ten years in a country where nothing else moves forward is a testament of the Haitian artist ingeniosity. The only thing they have not done, in my opinion, is taking Haitian music to the same place where Bob Marley took reggae internationally. But, again, they may be on their way!




Jean-Marie

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:30 am

Guys, fasten your seatbelt and Please reread my thread!
I did not generalize it! I know that I forgot mentioning Zin and Djakout which are from the New Generation. But, they are in my opinion Great!
But, Carimi, TVice etc, I don't think so!
I also would like to reread my quote,
[quote]By the way, mwen panse ke chak moun gen gou diferan. Men sepandan, si nou wè on moun renmen labou, nap panse ke moun sa gen pwoblèm. Se pa vle mwen vle trete konpa de labou non. Se pou m montre nou byen ke tout moun gen diferan gou. Men gen lòt ki gen gou kafe anmè...

[/quote]
Kidonk, mwen pa trete Konpa de labou mesye. Mwen te vle demontre gen on seri de chwa ki plizoumwen inivEsEl. Sa petEt enfliyanse pa kilti nou e anvironnman nou.
Nou konn en ke moun gen chwa diferan. Men sa pa anpeche nou bay opinion nou lE nou wE on fi ki daprE gou nou kapab detEmine si li bEl ou pa.
Kidonk, nou wE ke afE gou ak koulE pa diskite a, se pa nan tout konteks. Mwen panse ke nou tout (map resi jeneralize l) konn bay opinyon nou sou on moun ke nou panse ki jeneralman lEd...
Please, read my thread! I am not bashing Konpa. But, simply I think that Konpa is regressing with the Computerized KEyboards and about three people in a band.
Male,
leonel

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:19 am

Mon chE Serge, mwen dakO avE w. Ou gen rezon, paske mwen te vle itilize de twa gwoup ki reyelman lE w ap tande yo, menm si ou pa mizisyen, ou panse ou ka kenbe konpa sa tElman li fasil. Paske, yo rete nan yon siwEl si fasil...

Nan lOt konteks ke mwen panse ke mizik la pa ale pi lwen, se sitou nan son. Mwen pa kwE genyen bon enjenyE son nan pwodwi nEg yo. Menm nan nivo sinematografi ki pi bon ke anvan. Mwen panse travay on pakEt ladan yo trE medyOk. PetEt se mank de resous finansyE ki la koz?

Antouka, mwen dakO ak pwen w yo.
leonel

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:47 am

Leonel and Serge,

There are other problems that are not the engineer's responsibility. Konpa music today is more sensitive to the fans' enjoyment than it was before. As a result of that, recordings are full of sounds effects that are difficult to repeat when they are playing live in night clubs or festivals.

For artists to continue to create, their music must compensate them financially enough so that their time can be devoted only to making music. This is very difficult when there are so many bands and a very small market. Thus, many of the musicians are forced to have a 9-5 job while spending weekend nights playing music. To survive on music, they had to reduce the band's size and, thus, instruments. Digital music provided them the opportunity to do so, once they could no longer cut more instruments like Difficiles, Gypsies and a Jo Jacques did. Digital had become a necessity.

Now, had digital diminished their musical inspiration? Not if you asked the new generation of Haitian-Americans, or the fans from the French-Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, etc. They flocked to Konpa festival two to three times a year here in Miami like the coming back of Elvis would. In the past three days, I have been making phone calls and driving up and down Miami to buy four tickets for the May 20 Konpa festival in Miami at $100 each for VIP Seats for four French Caribbean islands friends who will be coming here to attend the festival. Was my attendance at the Capitol of Tandem des Cracks avec Les Difficiles in the 1980s in Haiti better than these festivals in Miami? Of course not, even though Leonel and Gifrants have better memories. The only reason to believe that the era of Difficiles, Fantaisistes de Carrefour etc was better than now is generational gap. The same way that when we were enjoying those mini-jazzs, the older generation thought their times with Okalbass, Jazz des Jeunes, Nemours and Sicot were better. It is all about emotions and adolescent memories.

J-M.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:47 am

Again, Tidodo is very true with his observation.

You know, I have to mention also. These two guys have a special way communicating. I am talking about Serge and Tidodo. Which shows that they are natural born salesmen.

You guys made your points accross very cleanly whithout any assumption of "I say, therefore it is..."

Great skills, Guys!

Both of you made sense. And I agree with you also...

And, yes, I think that I've reached the point where my Dad used to be. I remember that He used to say "Neg sa yo pa konn jwe mizik, se flè yap voye". When speaking about my Generation.

I am getting Old! I can't believe that I am repeating what my Parents used to say...

Alleluya, Satan je renons (je renonce)
leonel

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:07 am

[quote]Kantilsaji de kanpe pou defann prensip, anpil nan nou ki konnen vre chwazi pou fèmen bouch nou paske nou pa bezwen nan pwoblèm ak pèsonn, sa ki chwazi fè klan ak klik fè li, sa ki chwazi pou yo fè "dans le monde des aveugles, le monde est roi" e se nan sans sa yon moun ka tande Jean Rubens ap di angranman "Moi, en tant qu'autorité oficielle de la musique haitienne, je déclare Carimi le meilleure groupe musical de l'année 2005." Mwen te la, lè li di sa e li sipoze pran rèsponsabilite pou sa.[/quote]

Marcien,

The way this is quoted, you implied that it is very obvious that Rubens is wrong. Can you prove that he is wrong about Carimi?

Please, let me add, I am a big Carimi fan. But it would be unfair to you not to add that also I have two music CD racks at home. One is classical music only. The other has everything else, including konpa, country, soul, salsa, reggae, etc., even bossa nova. I also like Gilberto Gil. It is too bad that WLRN in Miami stopped broadcasting the Friday afternoon program by Sergio Mirnoshenko (spelling may be wrong). My classical rack of CDs is, of course, dominated by three of the most prolific ones - Beethoven, Mozart and Bach - but is also full of Italians - Donizetti, Verdi, Paganini, Rosini - and also others such as Haendel, Tchaikovsky, and performers like Maria Callas, Kathleen Battle, etc.

J-M.

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:58 pm

Serge,

We are just exchanging ideas on the state of Haitian music today and the external factors affecting it. I did not disagree with you on the digital aspect of creating music and the role played by the engineer in the recording process. Case in point is the sounds' special effects in Carimi's "Ayiti Bang Bang" and a Konpa Kreyol's "Geng Geng Geng." You made some valuable points and so did Leonel. I understand and appreciate how Marcien can provide us with some insider's perspectives on the subject, since he is an active musician. But, as undisciplined as it is in the Haitian Music Industry (HMI) - and God knows how many things I would like to fix in it if I could - it remains the only thing purely Haitian that seems to be working.

J-M.

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:17 pm

My answer to all of that is the following. An artist has two choices:

1. He/she can perform for public recognition and be compensated accordingly.

2. He can also perform for the artistic fulfillment and forget about compensation and recognition.

Whatever the choice, the artist must be content with the consequences, for, after all, it is a choice.

J-M.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:36 am

Mesye, tout sa nou di yo gen enpOtans yo. Men gen on pwen ki jeneral nan sijE Gifrats yo ki vrEman reyalite.

SE ke, nan tout Art, fOk gen yon disiplinn. Kidonk, sipoze genyen on mach a swiv. Se menm bagay sa yo nou aprann lekOl e menm pandan tout vi nou. Si nou pa disipline, nou chaje ak pwoblEm.

LE Guy Antoine fE sit la, li gen on bi byen detEmine. E, li sipoze fE efO chak jou pou li kenbe l nan disiplinn ki ka fE sit la mache tout bon vre. Kidonk, li mete li up to date tout tan. E se sa ke li fE chak jou.

E byen, se nan menm sans sa, ke on moun ki ap jwe konpa a, sipoze swiv on disiplinn. Byen ke lap inove de tanzantan a lEd de teknoloji.
Mwen menm, mwen pa gen pwoblEm ak NouvEl jenerasyon an jeneral.

Men, lE ou rete w ap tande oun seri de ti djaz ki konprann ke yo atenn apoje yo pandan ke se regrese yap regrese. La, mwen gen pwoblEm.
Pa ekzanp, mwen pa mizisyen, men, lE w ap tande "Bang Bang" ke Karimi jwe a. FOm di nou, mwen tal nan SOB tande yo kap jwe. Mezanmi, nEg yo bezwen fE plis efO kesa.

Oun moun pa bezwen konn mizik pou lE ou tande Ti jera (jet x), LoubE, Dadou, elatriye kap jwe. Se pou mizik la antre nan san w.

AnkO, mwen pa di ke nEg yo pa pi fO pase m. Men, paske oun pakeT nan nou pa vle swiv on disiplinn. Oun pakEt nan nou panse ke nou tou bon kote nou ye. Sa koz ke nou pa fE pwogrE.

Again, LET ME REPHRASE THAT. IT IS NOT GENERAL, BUT, IT IS A LOT.

Se youn nan pwoblEm ke nou genyen an Ayiti. Oun pakEt nan nou renmen filozofi JPP a (jan l pase l pase).

Mwen ka banou on ekzanp de moun ki pa swiv oun disiplinn. Mwen gen oun ebenis ki vinn monte oun pOt lakay mwen. Misye mete pOt la. Apre tout bagay, oun pakEt vis rete. Gen dwe twa lOt pyEs ki rete. LE nou mande misye pouki sa gen rEs bagay rete, misye deklare, "pyEs an plis san valE". LE misye ale, menm manch pOt la devan dEyE. How did I know? E byen, mwen oblije rele Home Depot ki voye oun moun vinn remete pOt la. Tout vis yo jwen plas yo!

Mwen gen oun pakEt lOT ekzanp ankO pou montre nou kisa map pale a. And I am pretty sure We all had the same experiences.

Se pa pale map pale mal. Men, si se verite nap bay. Se pou nou devwale sa ki pa bon, poun ka korije yo.

Mwen panse ke nou tout ki ap travay ou pa, ap travay ak oun disiplinn.

It is better to measure ten times and cut once than measure once and cut ten times.

Swiv oun disiplin. Byen ke nap pale de konpa. Men bagay yo similE de pwoblEm ke nou genyen nan peyi nou aktyElman. E mwen panse, byen ke Gifrants kapab ekstrEm pou nou. Men li gen rezon.

Nou wE, jan nou voksifere, lE nou wE mwen menm ak Michel ak kraze kreyol la. E byen, se nan menm sans sa, ke Gifrants kapab fache, lE l wE oun gwoup moun ap sapata Mizik li. Se dwa pa li tou.

Mwen pa fasil dakO ak Gifrants. Men, panse byen, na wE menm si nou pa dakO ak jan li apwoche bagay yo. Na wE ke li fE sans.

Oun pakEt nan nEg kounye ya jwe konpa ak endisiplinn. MAnde kEk gwo mizisyen tankou Dadou, ya di nou...

Male, kenbe pa lage,
leonel

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:44 am

[quote]Men, lE ou rete w ap tande oun seri de ti djaz ki konprann ke yo atenn apoje yo pandan ke se regrese yap regrese. La, mwen gen pwoblEm.
Pa ekzanp, mwen pa mizisyen, men, lE w ap tande "Bang Bang" ke Karimi jwe a. FOm di nou, mwen tal nan SOB tande yo kap jwe. Mezanmi, nEg yo bezwen fE plis efO kesa. [/quote]

Leonel,

I agree with you that discipline is a widespread problem in most undertakings by Haitians, inside or outside, including in the HMI. As I said earlier, there are a lot of things in it I would like to see change. By that I don't mean the Haitian tradition of "coup d'etat" to rebuild, but rather, adjustments to make better. For example, they could start the "bals" on time, the promoters could stop selling tickets when the local capacity is exceeded, musicians could spend more time composing instead of bad-mouthing other musicians, they could make it a point of releasing those CDs when they promised them or at least every 18 months instead of 24, they could also copy less foreign and other musicians materials and the list goes on. But, at the same time, the HMI is a big employer and many young Haitians make their living by making and playing music. Some make a lot of efforts to keep discipline.

Ti Jo Zenny (former Konpa Kreyol and also most popular Haitian actor) now of Kreyol La, goes out of his way, from what was reported to me by people close to him, to ensure that on weekdays the musicians attend their repetiton from 9:00 to 4:00. One of them, I beleive it's Theo, is assigned the responsibility of calling them to ensure they are present for repetition. The group 509, from Miami, repeatedly has had problems with their star singer, Princess Georgie, to the point that they had to do an ugly public dismissal in an effort to keep discipline. Ironically, Carimi is one of the most disciplined and better managed group in the HMI. Ca(rlo), Ri(chard) and Mi(ckael) (Carimi) are all college graduates. Carlo has a master's degree. Fito Farinen, their manager, is the best in the business. He has control of his mouth, his musicians, and their products. The group is just over five years old.

Leonel, I don't know when you went to SOB and I have never been there. From what I heard, Carimi's performances there are not always their greatest. But Carimi has played in France, two to three times a year, in Belgium, in Holland, in England and all the Caribbean islands with French connection. They play all the yearly festivals in Miami. l can understand you don't like them. That's a matter of taste. But a lot of other people do, including non-Haitians. They are the most popular HMI band among non-Haitian audiences. That used to be reserved for Tabou Combo.

Carimi does not only dazzle and entertain their audience with the music, they showcase it too. Glenny, the guitarist, with Noldy, the bassist, usually climbed 10 feet to the top of their largest speakers to dazzle the audience in their most electric performances, while a tune is being played. When you go to a Carimi performance in Miami, there is usually a 10-person deep crowd of young Haitian-Americans standing like sardines in a can in front of the stage dancing. If you go with your wife or girl friend to dance, you only have half of the dance floor to dance with her. If you want to have an idea of a Carimi performance lately, listen to their latest live CD with Tcha Tcha, Long Distans, Kidnapping, etc. You may still not like them, but you won't accuse them of being boring.

Gifrants has talked down a lot about Boulo Valcourt and their jazz being for the elite. Perhaps, it was. But, before I came to the US, I used to go to Ding-a-Ling in Delmas every Saturday night to listen to the Caribbean Sextet and God knows how much I am not from the elite. These guys are entertainers. People pay them to be entertained. They played a Haitian Konpa with an exotic flavor of jazz and yes, Gifrants, bossa nova too. But, it is one that entertained the audience. In the twentieth and now the twenty first century, it is not enough to play music. You must also entertain. That's why some Haitian musicians are popular and others are not. Musicians will always play some music to make themselves feel good. But, smart musicians know that to survive they have to play most of their music to make the audience feel good. You don't have to please all audiences. There are musicians who have niche markets. Caribbean Sextet, Coupe Cloue, Toto Necesite, Jo Jacques, Leonel Benjamin, Rodrigue Millien, just to name a few, were among them. But, you need to understand who like the kind of music you play and market it to them. When you talk about discipline, it also involves keeping a line of music that continuously aims at your target audience. Madonna calls it:"Artistic Integrity."

J-M.

Tidodo_

Post by Tidodo_ » Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:21 pm

[quote]Kòm mwen di deja, se domaj mwen mizisyen paske nan mitan deblozay k ap pase nan biznis mizik Ayisyen an, lefèt ke mwen pa "konni", enben kritik mwen ka plis parèt endesan, sitou zafè chanjman nan lèspri Ayisyen se yon twouwonsanfon sa ye.[/quote]

Marcien,

I am sorry, but I don't understand that paragraph, specially the "enben kritik mwen ka plis parèt endesan" part. Do you mean commenting on your music would be indecent?

[quote]Natirèlman, pou moun ki sou Fowòm lan k ap di ke pwomotè Ayisyen pa fè travay yo pou fè pwomosyon konpa, jan kanmarad sa mansyonne angranman jan Karimi vwayaje, se pa de gwo pwomosyon ki fèt pou Djaz sa vwajaye. Mezanmi, mande kanmarad pou èksplike pou wen nan ki kondisyon vwayaj sa yo fèt, paske mwen si m mande li w a tande se egri mwen egri ki fè mwen pa kontan ke Superstars sa yo ap pwal nan gwo peyi nan mitan Jeble ak Jevèt pou montre jan yo tou yo gwo mizisyen? Ki kote Nèg yo jwe? Kòman yo fè jwe la e ak ki kondisyon yo jwe [/quote]

Marcien, when other Haitians are making progress or shining outside of Haiti, all Haitians benefit.

[quote]Verite sa yo se pa landjèz yo ye. Se pou montre kanmarad sa ki pale angranman konsa ke Biznis Mizik lan mache mal nan kominote a paske antou premye lye nou pa annafè ak Atis ki genyen fòmasyon atis vre, nou pa annafè ak atis ki rèspèkte tèt yo vre, nou pa annafè ak atis ki menm chèche konnen kòman pou yo aprann dwa yo, pou fè moun rèspèkte yo. [/quote]


Richie of Zenglen mentioned many times in the songs on his 50th Anniversary of Konpa CD some of the problems you pointed out with HMI artists not getting respect. In fact, many people interpret the abrupt cancellation of the Carimi summer tour in the French Caribbean islands in their dispute with a Martinique promoter a step in the right direction of getting respect for HMI artists.There is no doubt that there still a lot of bad apples out there in that industry. You and I agree on that. But, still, I would hesitate to make the generalizations like you did.

Sorry, Marcien, but I have to go now. I will finish when I return

J-M.

Liline
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:19 am

Post by Liline » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:26 pm


Wow! I'm loving this post :D Keep up the great discussion guys :D

So many different points to go over, no idea where to start.

First of all, I think we should be careful when saying that Konpa has gotten worse or should I say moved back instead of forward. All musical genres have to evolve, you cannot expect for a music to be at a stand still, it has to keep going, and yes sometimes it will take a few turns down the "wrong" road; but all the things that we consider good or bad that has happened in the history of Konpa music is what is going to form the music of tomorrow. People hopefully learn from their own or other peoples' mistakes, failures, success' etc.

Now, if we're going to analyze the Konpa of today and yesteryears, then I think it's fair to get both the good and bad sides of each era. Cause I couldn't help but feel like some of you that are critisizing the Konpa of today, are not at the same time giving the Konpa of today their just dues.

For example, with the evolution of our music in society the views on musicians have changed drastically from what they used to be. I believe the respect for musicians has grown a whole lot over the years in our society. It is now a profession, and not simply a waist of time as so many people used to think before.

Another example of positive aspects, would be the business side of it all. The bands/musicians are finally understanding that the HMI is also a business. You can now find many of our musicians, living comfortably from their earnings as musicians. While unfortunately it seems that many promoters are using this as an excuse to exploit the public. That is the down side, but they do have a good idea. Musicians don't have to be "poor" if they choose music as their lives, they shouldn't have to work one main job and have have music on the side, specially if their band is succesful in the HMI circles.

Like someone said previously, while the musical aspect of it all has not necessarily gotten better, the lyrical aspect of Konpa has made huge strides. Take for example the words in songs like: Souvenir(NuLook), Cher Papa (K-Dans), Pou La Vi (NY all stars), and Carimi's Mwen Sou, just to name a few. Even Biznis Pa m of Djakout, when you take out all the screaming and such, the meaning that they are trying to get accross is a great one, specially in our society(take a look at the video to illustrate the point).

All this to say, yes of course there are plenty negative sides to our Konpa today, but there are also positive sides. Just like there were negative sides to our Konpa back in the days, but also positives. Konpa has evolved, and will continue to do so.


Ok, Malerezman fok mwen kouri ale. M'ap tounen talè pou m konsantre sou pwen negatif yo ke nou kouvri deja yo. E pou m fè de twa konmantè sou lòt pawol ke nou pale yo.


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