Can Haitian konpa get its groove back? This ‘golden’ performer thinks so.
The popular Haitian konpa song asks: Ki lang ou pale lè w’ap fè lanmou? (What language do you speak when you’re making love?)
M’pale Kreyòl, the singer croons. I speak Creole.
The song, a tribute to Haiti’s mother tongue by the band K-Dans, is symbiotic of what konpa artist Gazzman Couleur has managed to elevate with his talent. His latest album, “Kleré Yo,” is the perfect marriage of language, love, and Haitian culture.
“dISIP’s album is fabulous,” said Garry Pierre-Pierre, publisher of the New York-based Haitian Times newspaper and producer of Kreyolfest, the largest Haitian music festival north of Miami. “Gazzman sings with emotion and power.”
After a two-year absence in which his presence on the dance-driven konpa scene wasn’t felt and some had written him off, Couleur is enjoying a musical rebirth.
For months, he and his South Florida-based band dISIP (as in disciple — a nod to his deep sense of spirituality) have been wooing fans and winning accolades with the album’s electrified guitar and keyboard-driven rhythms —fanning hope that konpa might be able to break through its wall of isolation.
“Kleré Yo’s” lyrics, arrangements, and melodies have been critically acclaimed by Haitian music industry watchers, earning Couleur several konpa Album-of-the-Year honors, including one from Haiti’s leading entertainment publication, Ticket Magazine. “There is no debate,” editor Gaelle Alexis said in her roundup of the top 2016 entertainment acts.
This month, before a crowd of more than 3,000 partygoers in Montreal, a city official cited Couleur’s “determination and perseverance” while awarding him a plaque for his contribution to the genre. READ MORE>>>