Chronique 181- Fantasme, The mesmerizing voice of Melissa Dauphin

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serge.bellegarde
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Chronique 181- Fantasme, The mesmerizing voice of Melissa Dauphin

Post by serge.bellegarde » Sun May 30, 2021 3:42 pm

Chronique 181- Fantasme- The mesmerizing voice of Melissa Dauphin

In these times of frustration, stress, tension, music is and remains the only medium able to help you escape the vicissitudes of life, whether you are a musician or just a music lover. And what better way to do that than to listen to the recently released CD entitled : “Fantasme” by singer Melissa Dauphin. Melissa Dauphin is not a new-comer on the music scene and those familiar with her style can attest of her incredible versatility. Her performances with Strings are only a glimpse of her vast repertoire: jazz, latin music, ballads etc. This is her first solo album and it was about time the public at large know about her!

“`Fantasme” is an absolute delight. Melissa Dauphin has a tone of voice that is quietly soothing and captivating. She sounds so relaxing that you have to marvel at how easily she hits these notes. You are transported to another realm right from the first song, “Damballah Wèdo”. This is a beautiful interpretation played on a very original waltz arrangement. The saxophone player, David Fernandez is absolutely wonderful. It would be remiss on my part if I fail to mention that a crucial element in this CD is the incredible contribution of the great pianist Reginald Policard to the success of the CD. Indeed, Reginald is the arranger on seven of the nine tunes on the album. It is no wonder then that the music sounds so good. The arrangements are carefully crafted so that they do not overwhelm the singing, allowing the singer to shine and the listener not to be distracted by a heavy sound.

Melissa Dauphin is equally at ease when she sings in Spanish. She gives a wonderful rendition of the late Armando Manzanero’s “El Ciego”. A perfect intonation makes it difficult to detect any accent. Another remarkable piece in Spanish is Tune no. 5 “Alfonsina y el mar”. It is a rather sophisticated composition of Argentinian authors Ariel Ramirez and Felix Luna in honor of famous Argentinian poet Alfonsina Storni who died in 1938. This is a beautiful, complicated melody brilliantly sung in duet by Miss Dauphin with pianist Reginald Policard who did a masterly job arranging it. The lyricism of the singer and the pianist combine to enhance the melody.

Melissa Dauphin pays a well-deserved tribute to the late great Boulo Valcourt by including in the CD his composition “Lanmou pa yon plezantri”. What a job Ms Dauphin did and what a wonderful arrangement by Reginald Policard! Reginald’s task must certainly have been facilitated by the incredibly skilled cast of musicians on the album. Again, sax player David Fernandez’ solo is out of this world. Boulo Valcourt would be extremely pleased with the treatment given to his composition.

I was also very pleased to listen to Tune No. 8 “Sò isso”, written by Bob Haymes and featuring guitarist, singer, composer Ralph Millet who arranged this song played on a nice soft samba beat. I love listening to Ralph, the only Haitian singer guitarist I know who reminds me of Antonio Carlos Jobim in his singing and of Charlie Bird and Jobim combined in his playing. This song is a wonderful duet by these two artists which probably would quickly and easily climb the chart in Brazil.

Listen to the haunting arrangement made by Reginald in “Papa Damballah”. The keyboard and the drumming in the background translate well the feelings expressed in the lyrics, giving to this familiar tune of our folklore new life.

Do I have a preferred tune on this album, as I like to indicate when I write the chroniques? It is most difficult to say in this case. The whole album is a real delight. Melissa Dauphin and Reginald Policard surpass themselves. The cast of musicians is simply wonderful. The excellent mixing makes the CD the more enjoyable . All instruments are clearly heard. An absolute must for your CD collection!

Serge Bellegarde for Windows on Haiti – May 2021
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