Sunday, August 20, 2006

Jazz Ayisyen

Though I have been much enjoying the new Nickenson Prud'homme cd, it must be said that the Haitian music that has been inspiring most as of late still continues to be the memory of the fantastic concert I saw at Le Latanier (just up the road from the Teleco building) in Port-au-Prince at the end of July. It was the debut show of Chill, the new band from former K-Dans singer Jude Jean, and will go down in my memory as one of the most enjoyable shows I've seen in Haiti. Maybe it was the Caribbean night, the swaying palms or the plentiful Prestige, but I think what really had the crowd dancing in fine compas rubbing style was some excellent sinuous rhythms that used keyboard lines to great effect but still enjoyed the presence of a full band. The guitarist Paul Claudel Célestin particulary shone, reminding one a bit of Magnum Band's Dadou Pasquet from years back. Word has it that Chill will be playing a few gigs stateside in the early fall and judging from their Port-au-Prince show they are worth checking out, certainement. It never ceases to amaze: Haitian politicians may be largely opportunists seeking the support of craven or gullible foreigners, but the country's musicians never disappoint in reaffirming my belief that Haiti has the most vibrant and diverse music scene in the entire Caribbean. It's nourishing stuff. Sonje lapli ki leve mayi ou.

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