‘Kreyol’-flavored bazaar takes roots at Erick Jean Center for the Arts

This Saturday, March 23 from at 4-8p.m., former Mattapan resident I AM KREYOL: Joëlle Jean-FontaineI AM KREYOL: Joëlle Jean-Fontaine is heading up the first of what she hopes will become a monthly event, the “I AM KRÉYOL” Bazaar. She bills it as “a monthly arts’ market showcasing a variety of creative disciplines, including but not limited to fashion, visual art, music, culinary, and film.”

This 32-year-old designer and entrepeneuse is experienced at organizing free arts afternoons to attract customers to her fashion shows and displays. For example, she held one such event at the Great Hall in Codman Square during the 2011 Dorchester Open Studios.

The four-hour sale will take place at the Dorchester Arts Collaborative’s brand-new the Erick Jean Center for the Arts at 157A Washington Street, a multipurpose space named for the late Haitian community activist and lawyer.

Jean-Fontaine, who also offers styling services for photo shoots and music artists, says her KRÉYOL fashion line is inspired by her native land. "It is very important to me to show the Haitian people, especially Haitian women, as very strong, very passionate, very sensual." Read more

Coupe Cloue: Haiti’s musical Santa delivered in ‘12

We usually reserve Christmas reviews for new releases but as this season promises to be lean on that end we’ll take a look back to celebrate an artist who was Haiti’s musical Santa. This year, we celebrate the memorable releases of artist Coupe Cloue. In many ways Gesner Henry aka “Coupe Cloue” was Haiti’s version of American Funk pioneer James Brown - an artist whose talents were such that he not only mastered the commercial trends of his day but eventually transcended them to concoct his own inimitable sonic cocktail. Read more

Fidel gives Konpa fans a reason to invest in their future

FidelFidelFidel has made its official entry as one of the industry’s ambitious new bands. The group’s first release, “Avel li Fel” boasts a modest 10 original compositions and is an independent release.

Much of the buzz around Fidel stems from the adventures or misadventures of lead singer Dabenz Chery. Dabenz honed his pipes as a feature of some of the industry’s better known bands including the likes of Zenglen, System and the short-lived Canada based Oxygen to name a few. The events that led to his association and eventual disassociation from the better known among the groups are fodder that now serves the curiosity factor that may lead to sales and decent concert turn-outs in the coming months. Beyond the Dabenz factor, a charismatic figure like Patrick Appollon (Zin’s former drummer) being in the official line up is sure to help the expansion of the Fidel’s fan base. Read more

Dola Mizik delivers the goods in sophomore release

Dola Mizik
New York Time

We’ve been waiting for a sophomore release from one of New York’s talented musical acts and are happy the album, “New York Time” is here at last. Dola’s latest independent release features a modest 12 original pieces. Read more

Wanito proves untapped potential of Haiti’s youth

Wanito albumWanito albumSinger, songwriter Wanito is Haiti’s latest folk/pop sensation. The artist has been stirring the scene with his thoughtfully penned songs for a few years now and we have finally laid hands on his first release, “Biyografi Mwen” – a 10 song journey backed by a progressive c American music organizations PeaceTones — which promotes "fair trade" music.

I usually reserve this part of my writing to talk about the artist but he does a fine job on track #3 of the release. Let’s talk about Wanito’s backers, Peacetones — an organization that is trying to usher in new business models to support and promote today’s serious musicians. Read more

K-Mistry enters Boston into Konpa sweepstakes

“It’s My Life”

Boston’s music fans have been hoping for local talent to impact the mainstream Konpa scene and it seems their prayers might be answered with our latest local sensation - the band – K-Mistry!. The group’s first album “It’s My Life” is currently available in a store near you and this independent release boasts a generous 14 original compositions.

K-Mistry has been making moves locally all winter throughout greater Boston. They’ve paired up with Djakout Mizik, T-Micky and Kreyol-La to give fans a taste of their talent and it seems they’ve garnered quite a local following so far. The formation was born in 2009 when young musicians - Riccardi Rene (Keys), Alex Mathieu (Band leader/Bassist), Clarence Rene (Lead vocals), Willenz Altenor (Lead vocals), Yves Eliscar (guitar), Stanley Jeudi (Keys), Abdias Derisme (Percussion), Kevin Merisier (Drums) and Wilgens Joseph (Congas) – combined their talents to pursue their musical ambitions. Read more

Jazz trumpeter Jean Caze blends American, Haitian sounds

Jean CazeJean CazeJean Caze
Miami Jazz Scene

The world of Haitian Jazz has known about Jean Caze for some time now and while his first release is not what we would call new, it is not well known to the Haitian public.

The album, “Miami Jazz Scene” debuted a few years ago but is hard to find. The Reporter was able to get its hands on a copy of this 9 composition long indie release.

Jean has been quietly making the rounds in the Haitian and non-Haitian New York and Miami based Jazz scene for a while. If you are among those who follow artists in this all-too-quiet realm of the Haitian music industry, you know he has toured with the Zekle reunion project and is prominently featured on their video of a great live performance at Haiti’s Parc Historique de la Canne a Sucre. He has also been a part of the fine albums of former Mozayik percussionist Markus Schwartz and can also be found gigging with the likes of Reginald Policard in Haiti’s Jazz fest. Every once in a while he’s recruited by the likes of Djakout Mizik to fill out their horn section. Read more

Gabel delivers the real deal; T-Micky impresses in debut

“Gon Jan Pou Ye”

The restless band Gabel returns with a fresh batch of songs in their latest effort for the hearts of concert goers. The album, “Gon Jan Pou Ye” is an independent release hosting 14 original compositions from one of the industry’s up and coming ensembles.

Gabel is earning its keep the old fashioned way. Whatever they’ve enjoyed in terms of fame or success has been the result of relentless effort on their part. They’ve learned from their lackluster albums and gradually produced better products. They’ve spent an incredible amount of energy on the road playing before diverse audiences and effectively showcasing their adventures on industry websites. They’ve yet to lock in the hit album that will catapult them fully into the mainstream but one thing time on the road gives any commercial artist is some significant insights on what their audiences want. So far, Gabel’s slogans are more popular than their songs; can the new album change all that? Read more

In Remembrance of Lenord Fortune, “Azor”

Lenord "Azor" Fortune (1965-2011)Lenord "Azor" Fortune (1965-2011)The old saying is Tanbou frappe, Haitien kanpe —or “when the drum’s struck, Haitians stand!” That’s been the case for us throughout the many years that Racine percussionist Lenord Fortune, or “Azor”, used his talents in music to carve a national and international path for Haiti’s roots tradition.

The Island does not lack for talented percussionists but Azor - like his renowned predecessor, “Ti Roro”- could make the drums talk, sing, scream, shout and - sometimes, even whisper. His amazing ability with a hand drum was only matched by his astounding talent as a vocalist.

His videos were celebrations of the sounds, colors and movements of the African in Haitians. He set his scenes on Haiti’s lush mountains and its vibrant waterfalls and sung the trials and tribulations of his native land in plain-worded truths. He was a rarity among his kind – a “tambourineur” who was as comfortable in an “all vocals” acoustic setting and equally at peace with the best of Haiti’s electric music traditions. Read more

Central Square Theatre hosts “Ti-Jean and His Brothers”

TI-JEAN & HIS BROTHERS: From Left: Cedric Lilly (Mi Jean), Kervin George Germain (Ti-Jean), and Hampton Sterling Fluker (Gros Jean).TI-JEAN & HIS BROTHERS: From Left: Cedric Lilly (Mi Jean), Kervin George Germain (Ti-Jean), and Hampton Sterling Fluker (Gros Jean).Mattapan resident Kervin George Germain has the title role in Derek Walcott’s “Ti-Jean and His Brothers,” a musical drama that has been in continuous production around the world since it was written in 1957 and now is being revived in Boston to celebrate, among other things, Black History Month.

Through March 13, Central Square Theater marks the 30th anniversary of Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott’s founding of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at Boston University and commemorates the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with this local production of the Saint Lucian playwright’s powerful folk parable. Read more

Gazzman Couleur’s new group Disip doesn’t disappoint

The talented singer/songwriter and former Nu-Look front-man, Gazzman Couleur, has unleashed his highly anticipated release with new band, “Disip”. The album hosts 13 original compositions and was backed by Miami based Tropikal Records.
The announcement of Gazzman’s sudden split with his former Nu-Look band mates in early 2010 shook the Haitian music industry to its core. While it was known among insiders that there were strained relations between Nu-Look’s leaders, no one foresaw the extent of Gazzman’s dissatisfaction with co-leader and vocalist Arly. Apparently, Gazzman had long been planning his exit strategy as no sooner did he announce his departure from new look, rumors soon surfaced that he was well underway to forming a new group with yet another former Nu-Look member, guitarist – Gabriel Laporte. Soon thereafter the name of the group was broadcast on industry websites and promoters jumped at the chance to capitalize on the interest generated by the dissolution of one of the industry’s most popular partnerships.   Read more

Two new releases by Haiti’s hottest live acts

Chale MizikChale MizikChale Mizik
Mme Bruno
Miami-based Chale Mizik ranks high among the Haitian music industry’s roster of new bands. The group’s first release, “Mme Bruno” is a 14-song collection of original material. The album is an independent release. Read more

Michael's Legacy: Jackson 5, MJ had huge impact in Haiti

You’ll probably never forget where you were or what you were doing when you heard the news. I was sneaking a little time on Facebook enjoying a conversation with a fellow musician who was gigging in Switzerland.
We were enjoying a nice chat when she suddenly typed “They’re saying Michael Jackson’s dead?”
Of course, active consumer of American media that I am, I immediately thought it was half-true and that Michael was probably sick. Too young to die! No way. We haven’t seen each other in a while, but we’re growing old together. Read more

Life Outside of Pearl: From Dream to Film Reality

Uscla "Johnny" Desarmes: Director of "Life Outside of Pearl"Uscla "Johnny" Desarmes: Director of "Life Outside of Pearl"With such a small Haitian population out here in Los Angeles, you cannot imagine the excitement shared by my wife and me as we stood in the lobby of Uscla “Johnny” Desarmes’ home in Hollywood waiting to meet him. When you’re far away from home — which in my case is the northeast, the Mecca for Haitians in the U.S.— you’re never sure what to expect from your fellow countrymen. Read more

Another classic by the elder statesman of Jazz fusion

Reginald Policard
Changing Moods

Reginald Policard, a leader among Haiti’s elite musicians, recently released his latest work, “Changing Moods” for fans of his brand of Haitian and not-so-Haitian jazz. The release is a product of his label, PoliSon, and is comprised of a very modest nine instrumental pieces. Read more