Chronique musicale 102
It did happen finally. After many years of success, this musical group ended as many before it : it broke up and everyone went his merry way. But, suddenly, the members saw the light and guess what, the group is back together, trying to regain the ground it lost during more than a decade of separation. But, which group am I referring to? None other than the Skah Shah No # 1. It did happen indeed! It seems that it is back for good and judging by its recent release, it should quickly regain that lost ground.
Skah Shah's new CD is entitled “ Lague jazz la”. And in fact, the group does sound loose and relaxed. I like this new sound. All the legendary musicians from the past are back: Georges Loubert Chancy, Jean Elie Telfort, Jean Michel St.Victor, Johnny F. Toussaint, Ernst Ramponneau, Rodrigue Gauthier, Clifford Sylvain, and a host of other invited guests. The band really sounds good. One thing that is to be noted is that there is much less individual sax solos as was the case in the past with Loubert Chancy; instead an excellent horn section provides some really nice and steady phrases throughout the songs. The structure of the songs is much more solid, much clearer and the musicians complete the task with the background singing. Singers Jean-Elie Telfort and Jean Michel St. Victor, Skah Shah's signature anywhere you hear them, are at their best as usual. It is amazing that after so many years of singing at such high octave, they are still able to sound like this. More power to them!
It is also a pleasure to listen to the famous Richard Duroseau on the keyboard on 2 of the 10 songs on the album. Here is another musician who has not lost a beat since he left the Orchestre Nemours Jean-Baptiste. In Tune No. 4, you will be delighted with his classic Konpa solo reminiscent of his accordion solo in “Carole” Tune No. 4 “Anakaona” is, by the way, a song which preaches love and unity among us Haitians, exhorting everyone to stop the division preventing us from going forward. All in all, I believe that Skah Shah's fans will not be disappointed with this CD. As I said earlier, the sound is different; even the keyboard sound is different and the songs are well written. The brass section is very solid, either as lead or as background. Tune No. 9, “ Skah Shah Cha” played on a cha cha cha beat, provides a nice interlude from the konpa on the album. I was also happy to hear one of my favorite guitarists on the album, Makarios Césaire, in a tactful solo on Tune No. 5, “The Boss”.
While the band has been back for some time now, I believe this is its first studio recording since getting back together and I think it did a good job. The mixing is very good, the music sounds really nice. But most significant, despite all these innovations, the group has kept its identity, an aspect I consider of the utmost importance for any musical group. Let us hope that it can continue on this path and come up soon with another release as good or better than this one.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy, it is bad for everyone.
For Windows on Haiti, November 2006
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