As I present my very personal list of the 10 best CDs for 2003, let me reiterate that this list is not at all exclusive and that it is entirely suggestive. This does not mean that my choice will be in agreement with that of others. I had to narrow it down to 10 CDs and this is always difficult to do when you have such an abundant production. But anyway, here it is, divided by category.
If you like Konpa, the following CDs will please you.
- KonpaGold, Vol. 4 is part of the series released by Antilles Mizik. It is a nice compilation of 15 different groups. You cannot really beat that. Fans of Carimi, Nu Look, Zenglen, Sweet Mickey, NY All Stars etc. they are all there. Nice konpa, nice beat, nice dancing m
usic. You will also here the beautiful sound of the Martiniquan Group Malavoi.
- Skah Shah #1 Plus Alliance is one of the many faces of Ska Sha. This one is led by Yves Arsène Appolon who has been releasing some solid Konpa music along with some excellent Martiniquan and Haitian musicians. This CD, entitled Dolla Cab sounds pretty good, with some very nice arrangements. The mixing is excellent; all instruments sound clear and the flute sounds really good. This in vintage Appolon. I should particularly underline Tune No. 6 composed and written by Appolon: Requiem du General Toussaint Louverture. This is a vibrant tribute to Toussaint Louverture, the only one I know of this kind. This is a really beautiful piece.
- I place Edy Brisseaux ‘s CD entitled Kiki ìn this category, but it is much more than just Konpa. The CD reveals an Edy Brisseaux mad like hell
about the present situation in Haiti. And he says it too. You have to listen to the lyrics to hear it. All this is played on a very entertaining konpa interlaced with some beautiful jazz phrases which characterize Edy's style. Just excellent. I highly recommend this CD. [/*:m]
I only have one CD in this category:
- Reginald Policard's Gade'w . Now if you are looking for a musician who consistently produces quality work, Réginald Policard easily fits this category. This CD is just excellent and even though he plays Haitian beats, his orientation is just jazz, plain and simple. You will love his piano work and all the arrangements. Any one of his CDs is a piece of art and this one is just excellent. [/*:m]
- In this category, I include the famous group Strin
gs whose CD entitled Coconut Grove features a new sound, that of the young and beautiful Melissa Dauphin. She has a gracious voice which fits in very nicely with the group, something that must not have been easy to achieve, given Strings' style. But you will thoroughly enjoy this very danceable CD.
- Since leaving Haiti to settle in Canada, Toto Laraque seems to be trying to catch up on something. His CD Vibrations Tropicales is already his third and it sounds pretty good. Check out his nice interpretation on a Konpa beat of George Benson's Masquerade. Toto just loves to take this songs and give them a Haitian flavor. And he does a wonderful job at it too. All in all, the album is nice and full of vigor, Toto's style. [/*:m]
- I include only this release by the excellent group called To
kay. The CD is entitled Bandonen yo and it is pretty good. The rhythm is infectious and no true Haitian will sit still when the music starts playing. The mixing is excellent and as is always the case with Roots groups, the lyrics carry pointed messages on the social situation. [/*:m]
- As it is the case with Réginald Policard, Beethova Obas is an artist who never fails to produce quality music. Add to that a velvet voice, excellent arrangements, excellent lyrics with a message and you have a formula for success. That is Beethova Obas who always takes his time to release CDs, but when he does, you can bet that it is going to be worthwhile. That is the case with Kè'm poze which combines nice rythms, beautiful music arrangements and just excellent lyrics. A must in your collection.
- Haitians have
been fascinated with Reggae music for a long time. Witness the proliferation of Ragga bands. I find the CD entitled Solda Jah by Jah Nesta (Alain Moraille) an excellent CD in the tradition of classic Reggae. The rhythm is well balanced, the mixing is excellent and the lyrics are excellent. Even this CD did not get too much airplay, I think it deserves much more recognition in my estimation. [/*:m]
- Finesse 3 , the third of the series, is testimony to this. This is an excellent album of Latin music. These musicians feel at ease playing salsa, merengue, Dominican bachata. A breeze. This is an excellent dancing CD of Latin music. The CD is the product of a nice collaboration among Haitians and Latin musicians. A very interesting addition to your collection. [/*:m]
For windows on Haiti, 2003