The Distinctive Beat of Contemporary Compas, Enriched With Zouk

Miami Live - Ochan Pou Yo
Miami Live – Ochan Pou Yo
Miami Live

Ochan Pou Yo (Mini Records MRSD-1999, 1999)

Miami Live is apparently a relatively large local studio orchestra assembled by Fred Paul, keen to show that Miami is now the heart of Haitian music, especially for compas, Haiti’s irresistible merengue-like dance form. The results are once again excellent, with great vocals, clear and smooth, and a rich full sound, both languid and sensual, embodying the distinctive beat of contemporary compas, enriched with zouk – the other great musical innovation of the French Caribbean.

The title track is a choice party piece – the lead vocal, echoed by a chorus, alternates with the instruments in amicable competition. The tracks are quite long – from 8 to 18 minutes, allowing the soloists ample scope to show off their skills. Particularly impressive is the use of the synthesizer, which swings and sways like a palm tree in a tropical storm!

The liner notes unfortunately tell us nothing about either the musicians or the tracks, which suggests that the CD is chiefly aimed at the knowledgeable Haitian diaspora.

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