Chronique 063 - Lody Auguste, Edy Brisseaux

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Chronique 063 - Lody Auguste, Edy Brisseaux

Post by Guest » Thu Jul 17, 2003 10:04 pm

After a rather long hiatus brought about by an extremely busy schedule and many other commitments, the Chronique is back in full force, with plenty of CDs that will be reviewed over the next few weeks on a more regular basis; indeed plenty of new material has been released since the last Chronique.

I am resuming the Chronique by taking up one of my favorite Haitian instrumentalists, composers, arrangers, you name it. I am referring to Edy Brisseaux and his most recent release: Kiki under his label Bazzilik Productions.

Right off the bat, let met underline a characteristic of this CD: throughout, the CD reflects an Edy Brisseaux who is a frustrated and angry Haitian. Frustrated and angry at the politicians, at the bourgeoisie, at the society, at the government, in short, at everything. He is just plain mad and the lyrics reflect his state of mind. Brisseaux opens the CD with a very familiar tune for those of us who used to march on Flag Day in Haiti, on May 18. But most striking in this tune, or in all the other tunes for that matter, are the lyrics. The title of the CD is a recurrent theme throughout the songs and it does not take a genius to understand what it really means. Some simple extrapolation will do the trick and that will give you an idea of how angry Edy Brisseaux is.

Edy does not throw darts only at Haitians, he blasts also West Indians in general that are engaged in hypocrisy and who refuse to recognize the value of Haitian music. To all of these, he says it is time for them to respect Haitians and their music.

While in all the tunes, the lyrics carry very pointed messages, you also hear some wonderful musical phrasings by Edy Brisseaux. Listen to his very nice solos throughout. If you are familiar with jazz, more specifically with the music of Miles Davis, you will agree with me that Edy Brisseaux's style of play is the closest to Miles Davis among Haitian musicians. One of Miles' trademarks was the way he phrased his solos, hitting a basic note here and there and extrapolating from there. I hear the same with Edy and this is wonderful.

Of particular interest is tune No. 4, Vagabond. Not only does it have a nice bluesy pattern, but the lyrics are something else and I find Brisseaux here particularly bitter in describing the condition and predicting the fate of the person he considers an absolutely low-class individual.. The song has a beautiful beat and Edy delivers an inspired solo with some very interesting phrasings. Edy also gives a very interesting interpretation of one of my favorite tunes by the Modern Jazz Quartet: Django. The keyboard and the trumpet solos are excellent. Another track which is out of the ordinary is tune No. 7: In it Edy throws everything but the kitchen sink to the Haiti
an President, the bourgeoisie, and to the society in general.

As with his previous CDs, Edy Brisessaux's music is sophisticated and very jazzed-up. In this CD, he is not only playing music; rather, he is venting his anger and frustration at a situation which could have been different on the eve of our bicentenial celebration. My negative comment about this CD relates to the mixing. I find that his previous album were better mixed, although this should not distract from the music and the messages.

So if you have not yet bought Edy Brisseaux's most recent release, make sure you add it to your collection soon. The lyrics are remarkable .

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In her most recent release, this artist is also, like Edy Brisseaux, a very angry Haitian. Lody Auguste's newest release is entitled Dekwoke l and is a tribute to Haitian poet Georges Castera. Lody Auguste is supported by an impressive cast of Haitian musicians, amolng them guitarists Pierre-Rigaud Chéry, Claude Carré, Harold Faustin, flutist Oswald Durand and many more and this really allows her to express herself without worry.

I was most impressed with tune No. 2 <a>Sou latè</a> , a duet between Lody and pianist Yoël Diaz. The lyrics are by poet Georges Castera and the music by Pierre-Rigaud Chéry. I love the gospel piano lines played by the pianist and the lyrics are beautiful.

As you go through the songs, you can hear that Lody is mad, mad at the political situation, mad at the society which treats her women like dirt, mad at those in power, mad at the politicians and the government. Listen for example to tune No. 3, <a>A la traka pou fanm lakay</a>. The lyrics are by Lody Auguste and the music by Pierre Rigaud Chéry. Lody does not mince her words to denounce that situation

Tune No. 4 is <a>a wonderful tribute to the late Martha Jean-Claude</a>, a role model for Lody Auguste. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the CD played on a very nostalgic, soft and lyrical yanvalou beat. The lyrics are beautiful. Tune No. 6 is <a>a biting mockery of the Haitian candidate</a> who feels he has the solution to all problems in Haiti. As you listen to it, I am sure you will find many candidates reflected in those lyrics.

If one had any doubts as to where Lody Auguste stands, listen to the title tune Dekwoke l, whose main protagonist is an individual called « Batime ». There is no doubt as to whom Lody is referring as Batime. She is angry at him.

She also gives a powerful rendition of Felix Morisseau-Leroy's <a>Mèsi Papa Dessalines</a>. Pierre Rigaud Chéry on the guitar and Georges Rodriguez on the conga did a wonderful job in arranging this song.

The CD ends on a furious rara beat that will make you stand up from start to finish, a very fitting style to Harold Faustin's rapid fire playing.

Lody Auguste does not produce a CD every year like so many other artists do. She will tell you that she is a committed artist more than anything else and that she is not interested in the commercial aspect of the CD business. Indeed, each one of the songs on this release deals with serious issues and it is no accident that she worked with material from people like George Castera and Pierre Rigaud Chéri. She is angry at the system, she wants change and can be quite radical about it. An indication of that is the format used in the booklet accompanying the CD. Instead of reading about the first song from left to right as usual, you start from the far right and progress to the left. That is where she stands.

Lody Auguste's CD, Dekwokel certainly deserves to be in your collection of committed Haitian artists. She is on the few Haitian women still practicing this genre and you do not want to leave her out.

Serge Bellegarde
Windows On Haiti, July 2003


Angry artist?

Post by Gifrants » Sun Oct 12, 2003 10:21 am

I feel a little puzzled by this attribute. Does the concern of an Haitian artist when he or she describes the harsh realities of Haiti have to make him angry?

When all know what Edy Brisseaux mean by Ankiki. That does not make me angry--It is a fact that the level of irresponsibility of the current government is well portrayed by this term.

The same with Dekwoke. The level of deception of those who supported the Lavalas movement with the current political situation is well conveyed in Dekwoke. Does that make her angry?

This attribute is a negative one, and makes no justice to the artists. It took me some time to make this point. I hope that Serge Bellegarde will understand that my comment is coming from a professional point of view, not a personal one.

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