- What is the cultural value of KONPA in Haitian society? We have been treated to Gifrant's denunciation of the music genre. Do you tend to agree or disagree with his verdict? Can you describe your own appreciation of this highly popular dance and entertainment form of Haitian music?
We have taken the editorial liberty to excerpt from various recent articles on this forum what amounts, in our judgment, to a persistent tirade against the KONPA genre and a clear condemnation of its aficionados. Is this extreme prejudice towards KONPA a legitimate or discerning cultural assessment?
What is the cultural - social and artistic - value of the Konpa genre in our society and outside of it? Do our Konpa musicians (players and composers) have any merit, and if so which ones and why? At the negative end of the scale, do they deserve universal condemnation for being the purveyors of "trash" and libido stimulation as Gifrants contends in the following view of Haitian culture?
You see, we have to define what culture is in the Haitian psyche. I refuse to talk about the illiterate. Let's talk about culture to the intellectuals, the ones who supposedly know how to read, the ones with credentials...
You have to be a Haitian poet to understand. You have to be a Haitian writer to understand. You have to be a Haitian artist to understand. You have to be a TRUE AND GOOD HAITIAN MUSICIAN to understand...
We are not talking here about Sweet Mickey, Carimi, Zin, Phantoms, Zenglen, System Band and the list goes on and on. But, these are the icons of Haitian music, which is also part of our culture. I never went to see any of those musical groups. You know why? It is not a matter of taste. Culture has nothing to do with trash. Those musical groups are highly representative of who we really are. They are not getting better. We are not getting better either.
Culture? Haitians interested in Culture? Says who? .... Haitians do not give a damn about their own culture. These are people who are awfully confused. Most of those who are not, keep trying every day to forget who they are. Their emotion about Haiti is just on the surface, plainly superficial. Their enthusiasm about Haitian culture, is just about konpa, and it is just for their libido. Believe me, Haitian intellectuals are on the top of the list.
Maybe, you would understand why François Duvalier put in place the Department of Social Welfare--Bien-être social. He knew them so well.
My apprehension about "Twoubadou" here and there by a bunch of ...talented musicians, took to the air waves in Boston and in New York to openly criticize this big deviation. At least for the record, someone did something about and wrote about it... The truth about who we are is so ugly, that no one really wants to face this horrendous monster inside of us. As long as we want to be seen as trying what we can without removing him, we will achieve nothing as a collectivity. Yes, some of us will be successful. But most of us will be stuck within that mud that scrambles all perspectives.
I'm not here to please people who are mostly interested in feeling some trivial pleasure. The poor mental of level of most of my people leads them to a poor level of appreciation.
As far as I am concerned, as long the travestite is your star, as long as Carimi with their pre-programmed songs is your idol, I won't waste my time talking about haitian music. But when I do talk, I talk with no malice and with objectivity.
The tone seems arrogant, doesn't it? Obviously, you do expect Sweet Mickey, Carimi, Tabou Combo, System Band, Phanthoms, Zin, D-Zine, Zenglen, Top Vice, T-Vice, Djakout Mizik to be so bold, not Gifrants.
You have made them the stars they wanted to be. Alleluia!
By the way, what are they playing?
When it comes to arts and culture, it is not a really a matter of personal taste, when reviewing and judging THE POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE ARTIST TO HIS COMMUNITY, COUNTRY OR TO THE WORLD.
It's not enough to point out my arrogance. You tell me: WHAT A HELL HAVE WE BENEFITED FROM OUR POP MUSIC, --YOUR KONPA MANIA, YOUR KONPA MAKYAVYEL AND SO ON?
YOU TELL ME? With those insanities, mediocre clichés of basic chords wrongly used, the incessant LAGE L, LAGE L, mental and physical masturbations that do not make dance an art at all, YOU TELL ME?
Show me your stars in the dark halls leaving functions managers disgusted but willing to charge much more for the rental of the hall. Tell me about those marvelous fights, the firemen and the police officers arresting thugs and respectable-immoral participants.
It is you and your stars? Isn't it? Am I lying?
...You are disgusted twice. First, I m truthful. I gave to myself what belongs to myself--my talent, my sense of responsibility, my pride, my cause to do for HAITIAN MUSIC WHAT YOUR STARS WON'T DO AND CANNOT DO. Secondly, these are your stars. They look stupidly dull under my pen.
Tenyen limyè a! Konpa, music...in darkness. Enjoy your libido!