Yet another sound on Haiti's musical scene. This time, it is the group called “Elite Mizik” which released a CD entitled “Happy 60, Septen”. The sound is impressive. First of all, I love to listen to an acoustic bass in konpa dirèk. That brings me back to this formidable late bass player named Ferdinand Dor (Ibo Lele). Bassist Pierre Mary Jean François has a full sound that I well suited to the band. And in the rhythm section, who else providing solid support, but the omnipresent Shedley Abraham?
The music is well written and composer, arranger and keyboard player Winel Jean François does a very good job of directing the music. You get carried away right from the first tune “Fo diaspora”. The beat is solid and steady. The title tune “Happy 60, Septen” is a vibrant tribute to this Giant of the North, as the famous Orchestre Septentrional has been known for 60 years now. This is quite an accomplishment and it is a great gesture on the part of this new generation of musicians to honor the band. The music is well conceived and it has a series of movement which remind you of the Septen beat, interspersed with the modern konpa sound. The lyrics are quite fitting. It is amazing that this song is not better known.
Tune No. 5 “Gras pou Ayiti” is another very interesting piece sung by Pierre Divers, better known as King Kino. As the title indicates, it is a poignant appeal for Haitians to give Haiti a chance to grow and develop. King Kino delivers the message in his very typical and effective manner.
Tune No. 6 “Konpa Elite” could be considered as an introduction of the group to the audience at large, something typical of course for a new group. It is a nice tune and I like the bass lines throughout. The lead singer here is Bono Bernard. Contributing also to the CD is Armstrong Jeune, who is also in great demand, as he appears as a guest on more albums than I can count. I really like his style and his phrasing. Here, he is the lead singer on Tunes No. 7 “Espwa Lanmou” and 9 “Jou sa”. As usual, he does an excellent job.
I confess I was not at all familiar with a lot of the musicians on this CD, but they obviously are seasoned veterans. Their music is there to prove it. Winel Jean François does an excellent job a the composer and arranger as well as in the sequencing, and mixing of the album, along with pianist Jocel Alméus. The mixing is excellent. The lyrics are well written. This CD should be a good addition to your collection.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy; it is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti, December 2008
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