Chronique 153 - Tabou Combo, the one and only

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Chronique 153 - Tabou Combo, the one and only

Post by Serge » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:53 pm

Once upon a time, long long ago in 1968, in the city of Pétion-Ville, Haiti, a musical group was born named "Los Incognitos". As the name indicates, it remained relatively unknown until a year later, when the group renamed itself "Tabou Combo", a title much more evocative of its Haitian and African roots. The rest is history. It quickly rose to the top of the musical chart and more than 40 years later, it has become an icon of Haitian Konpa, singlehandedly making konpa dirèk known throughout the continents, and in the process, promoting African culture . More than 40 years later, Tabou Combo still remains an icon, sounding better than ever. Its most recent release entitled : Konpa to the world, is a strong testimony and reaffirmation of its mission: to be an international ambassador of Haitian Konpa. That is what Tabou Combo did with this CD, and in my view, it has largely succeeded. The cover of the CD itself reflects clearly what Tabou Combo is seeking to achieve, as we can readily identify some of the most prestigious and revered leaders of the African world.

The CD is a clever mix of some beautiful variations of Haitian Konpa. You know you are in for a treat right from the first tune "Gad eta w". In unmistakable fashion, the band plays with efficiency, precision and discipline. Singer Roger Eugène, better known as Shoubou, is in full form throughout the Cd, along with the solid cast of the Tabou Combo's musicians.. In my view, I rank "Konpa to the World" among the best CDs released by Tabou Combo. Each one of the songs has a particular flavor which makes the whole Cd particularly enjoyable. Listen to Tabou's vibrant tribute to Panama and its long-standing, huge fan base. Sung by guest Michel Batista, "A mi me gusta el kompa" is a song that invites you to dance. Played on a Dominican merengue beat, it is well structured and hugely entertaining. The rythm section does an excellent job. The brass section which has not changed for quite a number of years, is strong as usual, sounding as harmonious as ever. Their percussive sound remains steady and has become quite a signature sound for Tabou Combo.

Another beautiful tune on the CD is tune No. 6, "Lage m poum ale". Written by Yves Joseph, the song is beautifully arranged by Dener Ceide. Played on a quiet konpa beat, Dener Ceide sings with feeling and I love the way he expresses himself through his excellent guitar solo in the song. I invite to listen in particular to the little dialog that the brass section engages in. Tabou Combo pays a wonderful tribute to Africa with tune No. 7, "L'argent ne fait pas le bonheur", a song composed by Yves Joseph and inspired by the famous African musician Pamelo Mouka. This is real treat! Tune No. 8 , "Rumba Libete", is a special tribute by Tabou to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the advent to independence of francophone African countries. Played on a typical rumba beat from the Congo, this song adds another welcome flavor to the CD. The composer, Joseph Kabasele. is present on the CD to sing in his language, Lingala.

Like many other groups which released a CD after the quake, Tabou Combo also pays homage to Haiti and to the thousands of earthquake victims, survivors and their relatives in a poignant tune entitled: Haiti will survive (Haiti survivra). The lyrics are profoundly inspiring and uplifting; the arrangements are refined and the background vocals do a wonderful job.

The CD closes on a furious rara beat that is as steady as it is infectious. It is quasi impossible to listen to the song and to remain still.

All in all, Tabou Combo aced it again with this CD: it is entertaining, the music is total, the harmony is excellent, the mixing, as usual with Tabou Combo, is very good. Even though I singled out some of my favorite songs, trust me, the whole CD is just excellent. It reaffirms in the most definitive, enthousiastic and competent manner the mission that Tabou has set for itself: to bring konpa to the world and to make the world dance and open up to konpa.

Help stop Haitian CD piracy; this is bad for everyone
Sispann vann kopi Cd ayisyen yo! Achte orijinal la pito pou nou ka ede mizisyen yo!

Serge Bellegarde, for windows on Haiti, November 2011.

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