[quote]I would be remiss if I did not comment on the Gracia & Richie – Back to the Future compact disc (CD), a superb art work, or to borrow a theme from child's play “oun chelèn.” I must admit I have been a FAN of Zenglen for over ten (10) years now. Rather to be more precise ever since I first savored the delicious work of this prodigal band during a tour to Haiti in 1994. From its name this band means to present itself as the Guardian of Haitian Music, one of the most significant aspects of Haitian Culture.
This Kreyòl word Zenglen fist entered our Collective I circa 1849 during the reign of Emperor Soulouque. His Imperial Majesty Soulouque to protect the Crown decreed an Imperial guard called Zenglen. It is said HIM Soulouque was a believer of Vodou; that is, a Haitian Hero or “Oun Ayisyen ki te konnen sou kisa li kanpe--konsekan.”
Beyond the historic context, Zenglen etched its name on the international music scene on the sheer talents of its virtuosos who have become household brands Gracia, Richie et al; and, now are standalones. According to smith Nazaire, Actor, Yama Afrika, “Gracia & Richie play Compas the way this popular Haitian Music is supposed to be played. The orchestration is mastered to the level that anyone could dance their music without missing a beat.”
A person uninformed about Compas could easily ask: what is the enthusiasm all about? Before I attempt to answer this rhetorical question I would strongly encourage all music lovers to purchase this CD Gracia & Richie – Back to the Future. Released in December 2006, this CD is a rich repertoire of the genre of Haitian music totaling a dozen (12) Chelèn. Most interesting of all, while listening to this CD one is easily led to the many milestones of Haitian Music starting with Gracia, Richie's own New Generation creations on to Mini Jazz, Difficile de Petion-Ville; Specialty, Frere Dejean; and, Big Band (Orchestre), Septemtrional.
While I suspect for years Gracia has been capturing the hearts of Haitian women without a doubt his most significant achievement is laying to rest any doubt whatsoever on the mastery of his art. To what I could compare his singing “Map tan ou?” I would compare it to a painter measuring his skills by painting Mona Lisa. “For my generation that has built lifelong relationships dancing to the songs Roger Colas performed, this interpretation by Gracia is both an enjoyable and successful travel [Back to the Future].” (Duchemin, P. M., 2007. Interviewed by Dumas F. Lafontant)
And now let us turn our attention on the other protagonist of this Dynamic Duo who is none other than Richie. Watching him one quickly gets the impression that Richie's sole purpose is the articulation of the Haitian School . Indeed, among Haitian Music connoisseurs he is known as the teacher. So in an unassuming and quiet manner Richie has taken the challenge to improving Compas music. Multi-talented Richie is the force behind this CD that people raise the roof about.
In brief, the CD includes the following songs:
2. Yo remele
7. Pran plezi nou
8. St Valantin
9. Qu'est-ce que la vie?
10. Suk sale
11. Map tan ou
12. Papa remix
Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Gracia & Richie I thank you for playing competitive music, the message of love; and, above all, for raising awareness on the necessity to place Haiti first. For your efforts I encourage every Haitian household and our supporters throughout the world to reward you with the recognition of appreciation by purchasing an original Gracia & Richie - Back to the Future CD.
Dimafis Lafontan is a member of the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts. His texts, mainly written in Kreyòl, are published on www.Tanbou.com e www.Kreyol.org .
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