There was a time, quite a few years ago, when the Washington DC area was better known as a place where Haitian bands from everywhere came to perform in front of an eager Haitian audience: Ska Sha, Magnum Band, Carimi (which by the way has just apparently dissolved), Septentrional, Tropicana, and many other groups, regularly showed up. However, things have been changing in the area. From Choc Combo, Ibo Creole, Masterful Band, Rafrechi, are all Haitian konpa groups which existed in the area at one time or another. Now, comes 2016, there is a new kid on the block, ready to find a niche on the very competitive konpa scene.
I am referring to the new group called FA WOUCH formed by Jean-Claude Vivens, a long time veteran of the Washington musical scene. The group recently released his first CD and it is pretty good. If anything, Vivens is a very determined man and when he sets his mind on a project, he does not quit until he has completed it. Thus the CD entitled “Pa gen 2”, a testimony to his perseverance .
The CD is quite entertaining, in the good tradition of Haitian konpa. In addition to working with local musicians like long time guitarist Fritz Gerald Aubin, himself a veteran of Haitian musician in the area, Vivens surrounded himself with some well-known icons like keyboardists Jocel Almeus and Jean Max Valcourt. The result is some pretty nice arrangements.
Of the 11 tunes on the CD, 8 were composed by Vivens. I particularly took note of tune No. 5 “Au temps béni des mini”. Vivens takes us back to the good old time of the Mini-jazz in the 70s. Many will enjoy reminiscing this period. I should also mention tune No. 7 “Kremas”, a song about one of my favorite Haitian liquors . It has been a big hit on Haitian radios even before the launching of the CD.
While each song has a particularly flavor, one of my favorites has to be tune No. 8 “Haïtiens mes frères”. Vivens’ message could not be clearer. It is addressed to all Haitians concerned with the future of our country. He is so frustrated with the political conditions in Haiti since 1986!. Things should have been different and instead, we go from one crisis to another. One sentence resumes his feeling: “…….mwen pata janm kwè se Leta ki vakabon… - I would have never believed that the State has become the vagrant one...” This is quite an indictment of the leaders of this country. He makes a poignant appeal to his fellow country men and women to pull themselves together, so that Haiti can become “the Pearl of the Antilles” again.
The Coupe Cloue fans will enjoy tune No. 9, “Wa Koupe”, a tribute to the music of this legendary group.
You will also enjoy tune no. 10 “I feel something” which features a nice solo by guitarist Fritz Gerald Aubin.
All in all, this is a nice addition to your collection. The mixing is pretty good, the rhythm very catchy, exactly what you need for a nice party.
Serge Bellegarde – July 2016 for Windows on Haiti
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