Haitian Cross-pollination and Compas Explosion

Various Artists - Haiti Direct - Big Band, Mini-Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978
Various Artists – Haiti Direct – Big Band, Mini-Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978
Various Artists

Haiti Direct – Big Band, Mini-Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978 (Strut Records STRUT093, 2014)

This 2-CD compilation showcases the exciting Haitian music scene during the 1960 and 70s. The selection was compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito.

In the early 1960s, Haiti developed a new musical style called Compas Direct, a modernized version of traditional merengue rhythm, adapted with a new jazz and rock swing and multifaceted arrangements.

The irresistible compas quickly became popular across the French-speaking Caribbean as well as cities with large numbers of Haitian expats, like New York, Paris, Montreal and Miami.

By the end of the 1960s, the early big band compass orchestras formed by seminal artists Nemours Jean-Baptiste and musical rival Webert Sicot changed to new, smaller format groups like Shleu Shleu and Les Frères Déjean. Rock and psychedelia introduced raw electric guitars, saxophones and powerful percussion.

In the 1970s, Haitian band Tabou Combo filled New York’s Central Park for a Summer concert and topped the charts in France. This influential band was one of the foundations of the Zouk music wave in the 1980s.

Compilation producer Hugo Mendez presents a great mix of pioneers, popular acts and rare tracks featuring the wide range of styles, from Haitian rooted acts to psychedelic experiments and artists influenced by Cuban music.

Haiti Direct comes with an extensive booklet with in-depth liner notes and interviews with some of the musicians and producers that developed Haitian music. The album is available on 2CD, 2LP and digital formats. Part of the profits will be donated to the charity Partners In Health.

Haiti Direct – Big Band, Mini-Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978 features an array of talented and passionate artists who played a key role in the development of modern Haitian music.

CD 1

1. Ibo Combo – Ti Garçon
2. Les Vikings – Choc Vikings
3. Les Animateurs – Ti Machine
4. Les Loups Noirs – Pile Ou Face
5. Rodrigue Milien Et Son Groupe Combite Creole – 6ème Leçon
6. Bossa Combo – Line
7. Les Fantaisistes De Carrefour – Panno Caye Nan Bwa D’chenn
8. Ti Paris – Cochon St. Antoine
9. Groupe Les Chleu-Chleu – Compas X
10. Ra Ra De Léogane – Gade Moune Yo
11. Les Difficiles De Pétion-Ville – An Septième
12. Tabou Combo – Ce Pas
13. Les Pachas Du Canapé Vert – Désordre Musical
14. Scorpio Universel – Ti Lu Lu Pe
CD 2

1. Raoul Guillaume – Mal Élevé
2. Super Jazz Des Jeunes – Cote Moune Yo
3. Pierre Blain Et Orchestre Murat Pierre – Jouc Li Jou
4. Ensemble Meridional Des Cayes – Calma Pèlerin
5. Ensemble Etoile Du Soir – Messe Quatre Heures
6. Nemours Jean-Baptiste – Ti Carole
7. Orchestre Septentrional – Baptême Ratt
8. Trio Select – Ensemble Select En Action
9. Les Ambassadeurs – Homenaje A Los Ambajadores
10. Les Frères Dejean – Packard
11. Caribbean Sextet – Suspan’n
12. Djet-X – Jive Turkey
13. Orchestre Webert Sicot – Ambiance Cadence
14. Orchestre Tropicana D’haiti – Pran Pasyans

Buy Haiti Direct – Big Band, Mini-Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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