Boulo Valcourt, as versatile and smooth as ever.
Since the early 60s, the period of the so-called Yé-Yé songs, he has been entertaining the Haitian audience, first as the lead singer in the famous yé-yé group “ Les Copains”, then much later with the Caribbean Sextet, or with iconic drummer Azor, or again with the amazing pianist Eddy Prophète on the Haitiando series , produced by Fred Paul. And this is just a sample of the versatility of singer, guitarist, composer, arranger Boulo Valcourt. This is not an introduction, because Boulo Valcourt does not need any introduction. He is one of the most revered icons of Haitian music whose reputation for excellence has been greatly enhanced by his most recent release entitled: Kè mwen fè mwen mal / Au coeur ça fait mal.
As the liner notes indicate, Boulo has collaborated with countless musicians from all walks of life, but this CD is an “authentic album by Boulo…I compose for others all the time, but this one, we can say this 100% Boulo…” (this is an unofficial translation). Indeed, what a beautiful set of compositions from this remarkable artist!
From the first tune “Si w ale”, you feel relax just listening to this soft voice, those soulful lyrics and some beautiful arrangement. You could not have a better example of collaboration between the omnipresent keyboardist Jocel Almeus, poet Syto Cavé, Haitian jazz musicians’ favorite poet and Boulo Valcourt , to produce this masterpiece. The arrangements on each one of the ten compositions are exquisite. The tune “Si w ale” is only the first glance at what awaits you. While not encumbered, the arrangement is just what is needed to provide Boulo with the perfect setting for his soothing voice. At no point are you distracted by too much arrangement. Throughout the CD, the music flows like water from a stream. Listen to the wonderful ballad “Qui es-tu?”. The lyricism, the harmony that are brought out of the melody will put you under a spell. And this could be said of every song on the CD. If there is anything that this CD shows, it is that Boulo is not only a singer, guitarist, composer and arranger, but also a profoundly lyrical songwriter. This is reflected in all the songs which are enhanced by the beautifully sensitive arrangements.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful tribute to his late mother that Boulo paid with the tune “Man Valcourt”. The lyrics by Syto Cavé could not be more fitting. The haunting sax solo by Yacine Boularès is out of this world. This is one of the highlights on the CD.
This CD was a long time coming, but the result is so gratifying!. The arrangements are excellent; the mixing is very, very well done. Once more, Boulo Valcourt shows that he is at ease in whatever genre he sings; his songwriter’s skills are most evident.
This CD was released last year and to those who read this Chronique and do not have their copy yet, I can tell you: you have been missing a whole lot, because this CD is worth everyone of the 10 songs it contains.
Serge Bellegarde for Windows on Haiti, October 2017
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