Chronique musicale 101
Due to circumstances out of my control, the Chronique has been out of these columns for a while, but I do hope to compensate in a hurry, for I have a lot of material to cover between now and the end of the year and what better way to resume with Chronique No. 101 and a review of a beautiful CD which was released a few months ago by Mushy Widmaier. Many of us will remember this artist from the famous Group Zeklè, as well as his participation to the work of so many of his fellow musicians. Should I mention also that his family name does not need any introduction among Haitian music lovers and connoisseurs. Mushy continues this musical tradition of excellence.
The CD entitled “My world” is a joy to listen too. If you like Reginald Policard, you will also thoroughly enjoy My world. Not to say that it sounds like Policard's CD, not at all. In fact, the sound is quite different, but as far the musicianship is concerned, I found Mushy's CD extremely entertaining. Right from the first tune, “Arawak Dance (My world)”, you seem to be transported in another world indeed. The song is worthy of a musical film score. It captures different moods, most likely reflecting the different moods that Mushy goes through: it is sometimes ebullient, nostalgic, reflexive and jumps from pace to another, from the modern sound to Haitian folklore. Mushy mixes everything together in a beautiful harmony and everything is seamless.
On many occasions on the CD, Widmaier's play can be so soft, so inspiring! This is the case for example in Tune No. “Lia”, in which he does a wonderful job with the haunting sound he uses on his keyboard. That sound stays with you, particularly in conjunction with the background vocal which adds so much color and feeling to the melody. You have to listen to this. Tune No 3 “Ayizan” is another pretty melody which you cannot fail to notice: beautiful melody, excellent and tactful arrangements, excellent lyrics, just exquisite!. Widmaier's piano sole is as delicate and expressive as you can wish; it is just what is needed. Widmaier demonstrates how powerful a composer and arranger he is and if anyone had any doubts, he will certainly be reminded of his talent which may have been at times overlooked.
Another masterpiece on the CD is Tune No. 6 “Lanmou sa”, composed by Widmaier, with lyrics by the wonderful and most popular poet among Haitian musicians:
Syto Cave. Widmaier does such a wonderful job putting these lyrics in music that I can see Syto Cave smiling with contentment as he listens to it. Everything sounds good. Tune No. 8 “Ti Djo” sang by Arus Joseph and taken from Haitian folk music is another example of Widmaier's skills as an arranger. He weaves effortlessly from pure folkloric rhythm to modern jazz and holds everything together beautifully. This is a joy to listen to. The same can be said of Tune No. 10, “Malouk” played on a nice rara beat. The trumpet and the bass do an absolutely fantastic job in their respective solos while Widmaier artfully uses his keyboard in the most skillful manner. Tune No. 11 “Laren Chandel” also composed by Widmaier, with lyrics by Beethoba Obas, is another masterpiece on the CD. Listen to the harmonious vocal by Sonia Berose. Her voice is just beautiful on this song and her duet with Widmaier will transport you away.
But it is on Tune No. 12, “To you”, that one has a true measure of Widmaier's lyricism. And that is not surprising. He dedicated this song to his wife Cecilia Wiener Gousse, who brings the best out of him. It is a beautiful melody exquisitely composed and arranged by both of them.
Mushy Widmaier is supported by an impressive cast of musicians on this CD, for example Joel Widmaier, his brother; Richard Barbot, a superb bass player; Yves Abel, on of my favorite bass player; Turgot Theodate, an inspiring sax player, Azor on the conga, Arus Joseph also on conga and many others. One cannot go wrong with such company. Even though I mentioned quite a few of the songs on the album, do not think that the others are not worth mentioning, believe me. There are 14 songs on the CD, all of them composed by Widmaier or in conjunction with another musician. That is quite formidable! I thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. One particular aspect of this CD is the variety of sound and rythms you will hear. It is quite eclectic, which makes is even more enjoyable. I will not venture to say that I have a preferred tune here, because, frankly, I like the whole CD and I trust you will too. The mixing is good, the musicians are impeccable, the arrangements are excellent; it is good all around. So, if you have not bought it yet, you have been missing a lot and it is time to add it to your collection.
Help stop Haitian CD piracy – It is bad for everyone
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti
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