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Zenglen's "Rezilta"

Zenglen

Rezilta

2012

1:03:0

 01

Zenglen Nan Baz | 5m45s | 116 BPM

Lead vocal: Reginald Cange

I’ll pretend the daft intro isn’t there… I don’t discuss today’s Konpa lyrics often because they’re rarely that interesting; these are. They cleverly recount a typical day in the life of the Haitian youth. The bad news is, that’s where my love affair with this opening track starts and ends. The music lacks depth and doesn’t do the words justice. As much I wanted to hang in there, that buzzing keyboard preset and the “owo owo, owowo” proved to be too much for my delicate ears. We’re well into the 21st century, yet electronic instruments in Konpa sound as primitive as they did in the 1970s. Ridiculous! Oh, and what was going on with Kenny Desmangles at 4m39s. Zo pwason té kroké nan gòj misyé? Lwa Jacob Desvarieux té monté’l?

 

02

Love Someone | 5m50s | 88 BPM

Lead vocal: Kenny Desmangles

Either I’ve been reviewing Nu-Look/Arly-Look/Nu-Arly music too much, or Kenny Desmangles made a conscious decision to copy The Arly Recipe; I’m hearing the man’s style all over this tune. I was worried for Kenny a little bit during the first forty seconds. Luckily, he found his way and put in a good performance on a very good composition. As usual, the lyrics could be less wordy. “Chak jou ou levé ou abiyé, épi ou sòti ou pa rantré.” Don’t write lyrics the way you normally speak on the street.

 

03

Rezilta | 5m33s | 98 BPM

Lead vocal: Reginald Cange

“Yo pa janm pozé’w kestyon kijan ou fè rivé / Men y’ap rét tann pou wè sa’w poté pou yo ka bénéfisyé / Sé rézilta ou bay la sèlman ki konté… / Bien jwé, bien jwé, sé jwé pou genyen… / Bien jwé, bien jwé, dépi’w pot la viktwa.” Fantastic lyrics! I could see a football team using this song as motivation before hitting the pitch for an important match. I dig the experimental Konpa [if it can be called that], but it seems to be stuck in second gear; it never developed beyond the original idea. These guys have so many instruments at their disposal; there’s no excuse to let a song drag on and lose its impact. Once again, I find the keyboard sound and the “owo owo” problematic.

 

04

Nou Gon Pwoblem | 6m20s | 105 BPM

Lead vocal: Kenny Desmangles

Were they trying to skin a live pussycat in the studio? That keyboard in the beginning sure sounds like a kitty in distress. I’ll never understand how Haitians could find that stuff pleasing to the ears. Why does Kenny Desmangles start every verse with “ay”? Does he think it’s his signature, or is he wilfully mimicking the dozen other vocalists who do the same nonsense? I have a problem with “Nou Gon Pwoblem”; it’s like something I’ve heard from these guys before. I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from reaching for the fast-forward button.

 

05

Promise | 5m36s | 86 BPM

Lead vocal: Reginald Cange

[Actual SMS exchange between a Zenglen fan and me.]

Fan: Love “Promise”…Zenglen…Salsa/Konpa.

Me: Cange did a nice job on vocals, but the tune is not Zenglen’s; it’s a remake of a Latin tune.

Fan: YUCK!!! I hate remakes. What is the tune?

Me: The original is “Promise”, by some Romeo Santos dude who sings while high on helium.

Unlike that fan, I don’t have an allergic reaction to remakes. They can be interesting at times, and can introduce us to artists we wouldn’t normally listen to. This Zouk Love remake delivers more on the latter — although I’ll have to say a big “non mèsi, papa!” to the Romeo discovery. The main thing worth mentioning here is the great performance from Reginald Cange. There’s also a short acoustic guitar solo which I wish were longer. You can probably guess what other instrument we got plenty of instead.

 

06

Pa Tcheke Menaj Mwen | 6m08s | 98 BPM

Lead vocal: Kenny Desmangles

We have some good moments and some not so good moments, but over all, we have a decent effort. The one thing I couldn’t really shake are the whacky female backing vocals. Also, I still haven’t warmed up to Mr. Desmangles’ voice. I know Zenglen fans hold him in great reverence these days for the simple reason that he had kept their band on life support long enough for it to find another [read: better] singer. But to me, he doesn’t register on the radar of lead vocalists who can elevate a song. I see him more as a chantè/animatè for the live scene.

 

07

Lanmou Se Jwet Aza | 5m33s | 110 BPM

Lead vocal: Reginald Cange

Dener Ceide: Lyrics, music, arrangement and sequence. Oké, wanting to see a polar bear in Haiti would be considered pawòl moun fou. But, asking for more than just a token guitar appearance on a track produced by Dener Ceide, I say that would be a reasonable expectation. I’m willing to drop my demand if something remarkably better is substituted; another dumb synthesiser solo will never do. The drum track is delightful; I love the dark and cynical lyrics, as well as Reginald’s delivery. He’s such a talented singer; I hear a lot of Terrence Trent D’Arby in him. I wanted to like the entire piece, but had to deploy my parachute and bail out at about 3m25s. I simply couldn’t overcome the screechy synth lead and even more “owo owo owo”. The breaks at 4m11s and 4m40s would have hit the spot without the silly “HEY” and throaty rap.

 

08

Dance In The Dark | 5m03s | 90 BPM

Lead vocal: Reginald Cange

Hmm, where had I last heard clap drums? K-L-A…dIS… Never miiiind! Not one of Reginald Cange’s best performances; destroying his voice with silly effects doesn’t help much. Perhaps this slow tune might yield better results on a dark dance floor with a pretty lady’s head on my shoulder [pinga'w bavé non, ti chéri!]. Listening at home, it only activates the boredom chip in my head.

 

09

3eme Chapit | 6m03 | 115 BPM

Lead vocal: Kenny Desmangles, Reginald Cange

It was clear very early on that I’d get no joy from this chapter. Nevertheless, I pressed on, hoping I’d be proven wrong. I was forced to abandon all hope the moment I heard the asinine “Cha-Cha Slide” routine at 2m56s. Are you kidding me? Whenever that crap is played at a private party, that’s my cue to head home. It’s not surprising it serves the same function on this track. What the hell are today’s amateur producers thinking? Is their ultimate goal to bury Konpa in a rubbish landfill?

 

10

Cherie Pran Pitie | 5m49s | 86 BPM

Lead vocal: Kenny Desmangles

I wish Zenglen té pran pitié on listeners and not waste their time with this thing. Just as every picture taken doesn’t need to be online, not every song recorded needs to be on an album. When I wasn’t fuming over more Auto-Tune abuse, I was contemplating spending a winter in the Alaskan wilderness, hunting caribou for meat while avoiding being a wolverine’s dinner myself. Yep, that’s my brain on weary Konpa!

 

11

Pa Fe Sa | 5m28s | 106 BPM

Lead vocal: Reginald Cange

This was released as a single in early/mid 2012 to reintroduce Reginald Cange to the faithful. It didn’t move me then, and nothing has changed in that respect. The revisited “Fidel” lyrics didn’t impress many people, not even fanatik Zenglen. No doubt, this song’s role on this record is solely that of filler.

 

:: Script For A Jester’s Tear ::

Aggrieved fans of a certain artist have accused me of writing the same old negative reviews to recent albums because I [supposedly] hate the “new Konpa”. Hmm, is there a small possibility that the content and quality of these albums might actually be dictating the tone of the reviews? Any chance at all?

Let’s look at the material on Rezilta. Is there anything on it that had not already been done to death on Konpa records in the past year? Did it bring anything new, fresh, different, innovative, or radical? Is the music so exceptionally good that it makes up for all transgressions and weaknesses in other areas? I cannot debate the Grammy Award worthiness of Rezilta with fanatik Zenglen, but I can break it down so they’ll better understand how I see it musically. Of the eleven tracks, four [1, 9, 10, 11] are quite weak; two [4, 8] are a toss-up between weak and mediocre side of the ledger. And the best five [2, 3, 5, 6, 7], I could only manage to partially enjoy; they may contain one or two good ideas, but invariably descends into Konpa cliché hell. Call me finicky, but I prefer songs that are engrossing from beginning to end.

If I ever consider listening to Rezilta again, it’s likely Reginald Cange will have something to do with that decision. Without his voice, it’s just another old familiar sounding album which could have come from any of the currently popular Miami bands; and we wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference. Perhaps there are some truly amazing, fantastic, and wonderful things happening on Rezilta that I failed to notice. If so, I ask the band’s fans to point them out to me. You never know; there might be certain things that are perceivable only to the trained ears of a Zenglen devotee.

Bands such as Zenglen have been following the same dated Konpa script for far too long. When was the last time we heard an all-guitar track on these albums? When did we last hear some good piano lines on a song? Every composition is drenched in electronic noises so they can say “N’ap modènizé Konpa.” And lastly, what was the last Zenglen album to contain a sax or a flute solo from Nicolina Ferrentino? How about one from a trumpet? You see, these expectations have nothing to do with old or new Konpa, but a lot to do with good writing, arranging, and producing skills; it’s called variety. So yeah, their fans can continue hurling aspersions on my objectivity and qualifications because, after all, the problem is with me, and me only. There couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with the current state of our music. Not a chance!

:: Musicians ::

Jean Brutus Derissaint: Band Leader & Guitar

Kenny Desmangles: Lead Vocal

Reginald Cange: Lead Vocal

Eddy Germain: Congas

James Nosil: Percussion

Kenney Cenat: Drums

Ernst Benjamin: Bass

Nicolina Ferrentino: Sax Alto, Tenor, Soprano, Flute

Alexis Llerena: Trombone

David Lacomb: Piano

Joachin Barthelemy [Bato]: Guitar

Kevin Pierre [Ti Siro]: Guitar

———————-

Song credits

Guest artists

 

Rony L

Website: haitianbeatz.com/ Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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