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New Video Release by Cruz La: Ou Dous Pou Mwen

It has been a long wait for Vice2K since their Reloaded album two years ago. They just released new materials on this new CD titled: "Nou

Tounen Pi Fo" meaning we are back in full force. Is that so? Let's see!!!

1) Nou Tounen Pi Fo: We are back in full force. 

At the beginning of this track, I wasn't so sure if my ears would have been able to tolerate the entire five-plus minutes of my time. As the track progresses, the flammable orchestration of such a bang-up song curbs my curiosity. The fast paced track with some eclectic keyboard touches by Reynaldo, the trademark of Roberto using the high chords of his guitar, and yes the bass player is harmonically impressive. Thus, this song grows on me so I call this track a flashback and a bang for the buck. Hit # 1.

2) Ou pokoFlanne la: You are not a cool guy yet.

Tvice fans must be elated when they hear their band savagely re-enter the cutthroat arena of the HMI with a solid track like this one. This one is a follow-up of Tounen pi fo, very rhythmic with the continuation of some defined work by Reynaldo. I am not sure who is on guitar # 2 but I am liking the trajectory of this band if this is the new Tvice model. This song is a pending hit song that will eventually make his way to the public at large. Roberto may not be one of the great vocalists, but he is a household name like those of past generations. He has been holding his own for over 20 years now. So stop the notion that the man can't hold a note. Disclaimer: I am not a Tvice fan but I can appreciate talents. 

3) Ou renmen sa: You like that.

This is a sensual story that encapsulates the intimacy of a couple exploring and exchanging their sweet spots of sexuality. Especially, the guy doing what any lover boy is supposed to do. This is very soothing and "Zouking" song. I like it a lot. This song is one repeat. Hit # 2.

4) Se pa sa: That's not it.

This is a song for any generation. I like the club and the African flavor to it. JPerry is at it again. This track is cleverly executed to captivate the international market. Hit# 3. 

5) This time it's for real.

That's my song. Please listen to this one carefully. The great guitar work and the horns section make my day. OhOh. Mwenjwentoutbon. This is hands down a great track that has been written with a melomane in mind like myself. It would have been really nice to have a female vocal doing a duet with Roberto. That being said, Hit # 4, on my playlist and on repeat.

6) Voye Monte: Talk is cheap.

Another sweet and savourous track for the clubbers. Anpilyayad. This is a very sexy song with an option to cause havoc in the Zouk world. I am not a fan of the zouk genre but I am getting to appreciate the world of 5lan and others. 

7) J'en ai marre. I have enough.

Although this is a song about a guy tired of his girl being a nag all the time, the flip side of that, I and others get to enjoy the vicissitudes of the story because of the inspiration that embodies the beautiful melodies and the volatile harmony of the song. The delivery by Roberto is vocally appreciative as well as the sound of the high chords on his guitar which becomes his trademark. The work of the second guitar is truly a complementary. Good orchestration. Like I said the new era of the 5lan is getting to me, Dammit. Hit # 5.

8) Konfli: Conflict.

No disrespect Tvice, but those are the songs that lyrically I am so tired of. Even an election our people are incapable of instituting. Nonetheless, the sad part is that I and others will dance to the track and forget the dire situation of our brothers and sisters because the song is on point. Reynaldo is at the helm as the music director continues to hit the right notes, as well as the bass player and the drummer. On the other hand, as an artist or a citizen, I can't argue with the fact that someone has to echo the plague of our people but enough is enough. We need to get our house in order. Great song.

9) Moving on.

This is a great subject matter that becomes the costly distraction of a family unit. A divorce is truly mischievous for those who have been to it or who is going through it. This is a great song with grit and eloquence and the video is also superb . Bravo for a song that can speak to all of us at one point or another. 

10) Eske ou renmen mwen: Do you love me?

If that song was playing on a radio and I didn't know it was Tvice, I would have a hard time recognizing it as Tvice. Then again, when I hear the quick fingers of guitar player then it's no brainer. This young singer Reginald Toussaint delivers that song with grace. The talent is raw but captivating. This song needs just a little bit of zest then it will grow on the public pretty soon.

11) Back to the Groove.

WOW, beginning to end. This is back to the future Konpa Direk. These guys are on fire, seriously? Tvice you guys are killing me here. I salute you for this track. Hit # 6. This is what Konpa Direk was meant to sound like. This a reload of the Vice of yesteryears. WOW.

As we all know by now, 2016 is the year that konpa Direk has seen a resurgence due to great albums, notably Klass, Dissip, Kreyola, Djakout, Mass Konpa, Nulook etc. 

The issue is which one of these bands will lose their spot in the HMI due to this new material by the Vice? All I know is that Tvice just gives us a great CD that will captivate and bring the fans out. With this album, Tvice is certainly on the verge of stirring the pile of HMI bands. Confidence will rein. Great Job Vice2K keep up the good work. 

Konpa Direk Devan!!!


Kleré Yo | 5m34s | 110 BPM

— The horns are nowhere near stellar enough to play the starring role in the intro.  Get rid of the intro completely and jump right in with the [I]“Yo di’m fè”[/I] vocals.  I don’t have too much of an issue with the Kréyòl lyrics, BUT I do question Gazzman’s English singing.  Dude, get training to lose the accent, or give it a rest.  I want to like the screaming guitar, BUT better panning should have been used to avoid conflict with the horns.  [I]Puisque vant haïtien pap plen si yo pa jwenn bon kout siwèl,[/I] they got their mandatory portion at 3m20s.  For an opener, this title track is unexpectedly respectable, BUT they should have wrapped it up by 4m20s or so; everything thereafter is rubbish.  Here’s the [B][URL="http://bit.ly/2bvd5R9"]edited version[/URL][/B]; it's more radio friendly.  You're welcome, fellas!  




Heartbreak & Misery | 6m31s | 84 BPM

— I hear this is “adaptation” of [B]Labrinth[/B]‘s [B]Jealous[/B].  A quick visit to YouTube [every Millennial's go-to music collection] was necessary to familiarise myself with the original.  Bleh!  If there’s one commendable aspect in dISIP’s rendition, it’s the Kréyòl translation — though I also hear the Kréyòl equivalent of the phrase “All you found was heartbreak and misery” is still in the works.  I'll keep y'all updated, [I]oké?[/I]  Perhaps a more subdued/quieter vocal delivery would be better suited for a song such as this.  With its slow electronic Zouk beat, it's not a bad effort, yet I still had to check out at around 3m35s; more tedious [I]siwèl[/I] is not what the doctor ordered.  




San Manti | 5m57s | 98 BPM

— As evident here, Dener Ceide’s guitar chops are indisputable, but his singing voice [decent] won’t be the subject of many music discussions.  And for someone who’s already being heralded as a Super Producer, I must say, this track does little to justify the distinction.  Unless you consider the quirky not-quite-konpa rhythm during the first 1m15s [suggestive of Zenglen’s Rezilta], this is as generic sounding as anything I’ve heard from the recent crop of Haitian basement producers.  Of course, no Konpa album would be complete without your “pèp la” “péyi a”, “soufri”, “ti moun yo”, “pouki” “fòk sa chanjé” lyrics. San Manti might be good enough for its intended audience, but it’ll likely secure a spot on everyone else’s pile of evanescent Konpa songs.



Fòt Papam | 5m53s | 88 BPM

— You know, when I want stories of incest and polygamy, I’ll watch documentaries about the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints.  That’s what the dozen or so Discovery channels are for, yes?  However, if Konpa lyricists must get all topical and tackle those issues in cringe-inducing péyizan style, I ask that the music be of an elevated calibre. You see, no matter how deep/important you fancy the words to be, they will not be life-changing for anyone, nor be the only factor in purchasing decisions. So again, the music must always be Top Priority. Lyrically or musically, Fòt Papam is ill-conceived and poorly executed in every sense. To put it politely, sé mizik moun mòn.



Pa Pozem Kesyon | 5m13s | 106 BPM

— Good news: this track will be banging when played loud; bad news: it will not reach such level of goodness for me because I don’t want neighbours come knocking and asking questions.  More goods news: I dig the keys solo [shocker!] – just a couple of delightful repeating phrases, no pretentious vagaries.  I do wish they had used a better sound [surprised?].  Final news: I don’t care for the “I don’t care / I don’t give a damn” hook.  Why couldn’t it be done in Kréyòl? If I were in the business of predicting “hit potential” or “song that will do damage live”, I’d throw some weight behind Pa Pozem Kesyon.



It Doesn’t Matter | 5m34s | 88 BPM

— I recently heard [B]Jessye Belleval[/B]‘s [B]Je M’envole[/B] album and thought her voice was [I]aight[/I], but nothing special. Her performance on this duet with Gazzman is unlikely to make listeners seek her other work.  And whatever freshness she may have brought to the table doesn’t matter anyway; the entire track is mercilessly eviscerated by yet more retarded ear-piercing [I]siwèl.[/I] [I will petition Apple for a [I]siwèl[/I] emoji.] Why in the world won’t Haitians banish these kitschy elements from their music??  There has to be something wrong with the water supply down there in Miami which only affects Haitians. Seriously, how can one group of musicians be so sonically challenged? Arrgh!!!

[I][I feel the onset of another Konpa rage episode. Time for a Talenti break…][/I]




Cette Fois-ci | 5m34s | 92 BPM

— I can’t be the only person who finds Gazzman’s constant “Hmm” or “Hm-um” extremely annoying, can I?  This is slightly above average Konpa with [I]Larivieresque[/I] Kréyòl and English hooks — the sort of heartstring-tugging material that Gazzman fangirls can’t wait to sing their poor little heads off to at the next dark-room dISIP [I]bal[/I].  That is, if they’re not too busy getting reborn in his sweat. Oh, and any Haitian male caught singing along to [B]Cette Fois-ci[/B] or saying “Gazzy” ought to have his Man Card promptly revoked.  



Defi | 5m54s | 115 BPM

— I see a certain [B]Billy Da Kid[/B] credited with the music; I’m betting this is some form of debt payment to Gazzman.  [I]M’ba Billy Da Kid défi gadé moun nan zyé pou’l di [/I][B][I]Defi[/I][/B][I] sé yon bèl chanté.[/I]  But then again, [I]haïtien tèlman gen zyé chèch;[/I] he probably will do it.  Nevertheless, there’s no way [B]Defi[/B] should have made it on to this album, or be on any other album, for that matter.  [I]Si’m Gazzman, Billy Da Kid dwé’m toujou.[/I]




Lanmou Pi Fò | 5m56s | 90 BPM

— A good amount of exxagerated lead vocals supported by great amount of discordant background vocals where female voices sound more like guys on helium.  When it's not a problem of transgen…[never miiind], there's some guy taking way too much delight in fingering his keyboard.  Complete turnoff!  This is another illustration of Haitian musicians believing their lyrics and ample [I]siwèl[/I] are enough to stimulate listeners.  Lanmou Pi Fò is a needlessly long, sloppy, and namby-pamby Zouk attempt; even the staunchest of disciples might turn their noses up at it.




J’ai Brûlé Les Etapes (Etap) | 5m46s | 90 BPM

— In terms of style, these are undoubtedly the best lyrics on this record. I’d love to listen to a version of this track where I don’t hear “Nou sé dISIP”, “Gazzman Couleur”, “Well”, “Etap”, “Bonjour”, his buddies’ names, or his annoying laugh.  [A pair of dirty football socks might do the trick.]  I’d want said version to have a much longer guitar solo; repeat this one if you have to. As usual, the [I]siwèl[/I] was a pinprick, but [I]m’séré dan’m[/I] and dealt with the pain to get through this promising number.  In the end, we have ourselves a fantastic composition that I may not listen to again. Why, you ask? Listening to my Konpa shouldn’t feel like I’m treading an auditory minefield.  Not liking a tune because of the music is quite normal, and I’m okay with that. But when I have to dismiss it due to knuckleheaded technical mistakes that should have been avoided or remedied, it’s infuriating and unforgivable.




Aparans | 5m54s | 90 BPM

— That analogue synth in the fifteen second intro gave the impression that [B]Aparans[/B] might develop into something worthwhile.  Not the case!  If this were my song, I’d find ways to make good use of that sound throughout the arrangement, especially for the solo at 2m00s.  Come to think of it, I probably would have deep-sixed the track altogether; not every song started needs to be completed.



Limena | 5m50s | 115 BPM

— I don't expect to like every song after just one listen.  What I do expect is to be able to further explore it down the road and hopefully warm up to it.  This Limena succeeds only in robbing me of that option.  Even if I wanted to give the music another go, I'm not willing to sit through these off-putting background vocals any more than I already have.  My ears are far too precious to me to keep subjecting them to these outrageously shrill keyboard sounds.  Only folks ensconced in the Dark Ages could still find those aspects of Konpa acceptable and enjoyable.  In any event, if I'm ever in need of a Limena, I'll dial up Da[r]benz and System Band # xxx instead.


* *

:: The Sun Always Shines on TV ::


-- In today’s Konpa, even when albums do contain some decent tunes, reviewing them is too frequently an unpleasant undertaking. They don’t offer much in terms of creativity/imagination, good/interesting sounds, good production, or professionalism. Instead, we’re bombarded with so many odious elements, it’s total sonic mayhem, a continuous assault on the ears. How often must we hear Gazzman watermark songs with [I]“Nou sé dISIP”[/I]? How many times do we need to hear him laughing? How many times should we hear him mention his own name? How many [I]“slogan”[/I] are too many? How much asinine [I]siwèl[/I] can an album handle? In serious musical milieux, such provincial antics are considered distasteful and distracting; they interfere with our ability to enjoy music; they appeal only to those with poor taste and low expectations.  And here’s the kicker: These are pretty much the same complaints I wrote about for dISIP’s previous album.  


If I were the one entrusted with the task of picking songs to include on Kleré Yo, only these would make the final cut: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12. But since I was left out of the loop, the remaining crappy four [4, 8, 9, 11] will have to be counted in the final score. At the end of the twelve tracks, you can’t help but conclude that Kleré Yo is musically average, at best. That’s the danger with overabundance, innit?. If you’re requiring listeners to sit through seventy minutes of music, you better make darn sure all your material is up to scratch. Now, if magnanimity got the better of me and forced me to grade solely on the merits of the eight better tracks, then the light would definitely shine brighter on Kleré Yo. Even then, it wouldn't offer the full experience I require of an album; even then, I wouldn’t see a future where I’d want to hear it again.     


To Gazzyens™ ak Gazzyennes™, a recommendation is obviously moot. To neutrals, do yourselves a favour, spend the money on a pre-Aristide album instead. I can't imagine any self-respecting Konpaphile™ wanting to trade a Konpa record from that era for Kleré Yo.


 ::  Musicians  ::


Gazzman Pier: Lead vocal


Jean Baptiste Louis: Drums, Background vocal


Mackenson Saint-Fleur: Guitars


Jean Archil Clairsainville: Percussion, Background vocal


Jamesley Durva:Bass


Rene Gardere: Trombone, Background vocal


Michel Bernadin:] Congas, Background vocal




© 2016


Ms. Lauryn Hill has launched a three-day series of music and art events celebrating the African Diaspora. 

I have two things to say about this project. 1, Cuban needed something out there, no matter what and regardless of the format and presentation. As someone who earned my musical ears listening to Skah Shah, my expectation is always very high when the name Shah Shah is mentioned. So I am always careful to differentiate between a genuine Skah Shah product and one by a Skah Shah Product. And this is simply what this is: a product (the CD) by a Skah Shah Product (Cubano). Many have said that Cubano IS Skah Shah, I forcefully disagree with that characterization. One may recognize Skah Shah by the voice of Cubano but Skah Shah is (was) more than the voice of Cubano. Cubano released one of the best Konpa Albums of all times, "L'Essence". L'Essence was a great product but it was not a Skah Shah product. It was a product by a Skah Shah Product.


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