With Christmas rapidly approaching and the traditional cornucopia of new Haitian releases having already started, I headed up to New York, in search of all the new sounds. I made a pretty nice find when I stumbled upon a brand new group called: 5 Etwal and its first release entitled "Lavi sa". Judging by this first release, the group indeed holds great promises.
I do not know any of the musicians, I am sorry to say, but I was attracted by the heavy names on the list of invited artists: Elie Lapointe, Shedly Abraham, Gabriel laporte, Alix Nosile, Nickenson Prudhomme, Yves Albert and many more. Folks, this CD is highly, highly entertaining. I enjoyed every single song on the album. The maestro James Momplaisir is quite a prolific composer, having written 10 of the 11 tunes on the album and having arranged the eleventh one. This is quite impressive. The melodies are very tastefully arranged, with some beautiful lines throughout. The brass section is excellent. For my own taste, it could have been even more forceful with the addition of a saxophone player. The rhythm section is superb and provides a steady beat to the songs. The two guitarists, Sylvain Pluviose and Rodrigue Lacroix, without being flashy, enhance the music with their very disciplined style. James Momplaisir is also the keyboardist and is excellent in not overwhelming the music.
I was most impressed with the lyrics of the songs throughout the CD. This reflects Maestro James Momplaisir's serious approach not only to the melody and the harmony , but also to the messages carried by his music. Even though there has been quite a lot of movement in this direction, I often wish this approach were more generalized in Haitian Konpa. Whether he speaks of love, family issues, serious social issue, Haiti, the society, the lyrics are always thoughtful. Listen for example to tune No. 4, Lajan, tune No 5, Se ou mwen vle (7-7-7-); tune No. 8 Move bopè, tune No. 7 , Haiti and many more. Each song with a message. I hope the group continues on that path.
I highly recommend this CD. The music is well-crafted; the mixing is very good; the musicians do an excellent job and my hat of to 5 Etwal's vibrant appearance on the musical scene. It is difficult for me to say which tune I like best. After listening to it more than once, I still enjoy the whole album. That is why I encourage you to add it to your konpa collection; it will enrich it, I guarantee it.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy. It is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde for windows on Haiti – December 2009.
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