Located in the extreme south of Haiti, Jérémie is known as the city of poets, having produced some of the most reknown poets of Haiti, notably Jean Brierre, René Philoctète, Anthony Phelps and so many more. However, we also have to start thinking of Jérémie as the home city of Galaxy Band, the hot konpa dirèk band hailing from there. I say hot because its most recent release is just that: smoking.
I must admit that I was not familiar with the music of Galaxy Band and with any of those musicians, apart from the great arranger, keyboardist Jocel Almeus who does not need any introduction. I bought the CD more in solidarity with the group, since I am partly from Jérémie. I am not sorry at all I did. The CD is quite entertaining, from the first note to the last. I love the way bass player Billy Bourdeau plays his instrument. He has a solid touch. He is by the way one of four other Bourdeaus involved in this project: Bertiny (keyboard); Jean-Marie (bass, keyboard); Louis Harry (back vocal) and Harry Bourdeau (sound engineer, composer). So you could almost say that it is a family affair. Of the 9 songs on the CD, five were composed by Harry Bourdeau and one by another family member, Donald Bourdeau who also played quite a role in the arrangements of the songs.
Galaxy plays a nice brand of konpa in which no one instrument is in the forefront. The arrangements are solid and disciplined and I also appreciate the fact that much attention is paid to the lyrics. The brass section does an excellent job and unfortunately, the liner notes do not indicate the members of the brass section. Galaxy's style is a classic style of konpa and the rhythm is tight. Listen for example to tune No 6, Mysyon Nou. The rhythm section is excellent and I like to listen to the rhythm section here. Tune no. 7, Haiti (sic) Tan Lontan, is a very nice, nostalgic piece about Haiti, describing how things used to be. I cannot say that I have a favorite song on the album; they all sound good to me. The mixing , while being very decent, could have been a bit better, but this does not at all deter you from enjoying the CD. So, if you do not have any music from the city of poets, I would encourage you to add this CD to your collection. You will enjoy it.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy; it is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde for Windows on Haiti, January 2010.
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