Between the 1960s and 1980s, experimentation and electric reinterpretation of traditional rhythms was rife, along with the sophisticated balancing of a host of influences. There's the jazz-era instrumentation, brought during the early 20th century American occupation, which introduced horn sections to Haitian ensembles. Cuba, cultural imperator of the Afro-Atlantic and perennial ally of Haiti, imbued Meringue, Mambo, Son, Guajira, Charanga, and a slew of Afro-Cuban styles into the Haitian repertoire. Accordion-driven Colombian Cumbia and Dominican Merengue left their mark. A melting pot of sound was all held together by the countless rhythms, drum patterns, and percussion brought across the Atlantic from Africa, surviving slavery's violent cultural repression.
Nago rhythms from what is today Nigeria and Benin, Kongo rhythms from Central Africa, and Petwo rhythms from the Vodou traditions of Guinea, among many others, were revived and given special importance in an age of black consciousness, driven by the Negritude and Noiriste philosophies of Afro-Caribbean intellectuals like Jamaica's Marcus Garvey and Martinique's Frantz Fanon.
The lasting result is a rich, layered terrine that spawned Haiti's Cuban-inspired Meringue, the dominant Kompa Direct of Nemours Jean Baptiste, the silky tenor sax-led Cadence Rampa pioneered by Webert Sicot, psychedelic Mini Jazz, and the dancefloor-filling Vodou Jazz compositions of de-facto national orchestra, Super Jazz de Jeunes. At its peak, Haitian music was widely distributed, proliferating its unique blend of sound across the Francophone Caribbean and West Africa.
Recordings capturing this vibrant laboratory of colliding influences were produced and pressed in Haiti, the United States, France, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Huge catalogs from the heavyweight record labels of the time-IBO Records, Marc Records, and Mini Records-and the smaller, private presses have largely been gathering dust and bugs, left to warp in the damp humidity..., until now.
Accompanied by a 20 page liner note booklet with vintage photographs mined across Haiti and its vast diaspora, an essay by a scholar of traditional Haitian Vodou rhythms at the School of Arts in Port au Prince, a history of the Haitian sound, and interviews with key figures of the forgotten scene, the compilation will be available on a gatefold LP, CD, and digital formats.
"Aprè dans, tanbou toujou lou (After the dance, the drum is always heavy.)"
(added: 2016-07-22 09:06:48 )