Before the drum-machine or the digital era in Haitian music, Big Bands Orchestra was the standard in Konpa music. Often playing with 5 trumpets, 2 saxophones, 4 singers, and a rhythm section consisting of the piano, accordion, bass, African congas, and drums. Haitian bands often performed music of various genres including Salsa, Meringue, Caribbean, and American Jazz.
Tropicana D'Haiti is one of such tradititional bands. The legendary konpa band headed by maestro Charles" Ti Blanc" Cinna Octavius, one of the icons of contemporary Haitian music, has recorded more than 20 albums and countless vinyls in 40 years.
The ensemble Tropicana has enjoyed a forty year reign and the reputation for being an outstanding and disciplined performing group. According to "Ti- Blanc" , who has played saxophone with the band for 39 years, Tropicana was named after a famous Cuban club frequented by Cubans living in Au Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti. The band's music is rooted in Cuban Pachanga, Salsa, and Meringue with distinctive Konpa Direk ambient chords.
From 1964 onward Tropicana's most loyal fans have been those living in the northern part of Haiti, but the band's popularity exploded throughout the country with the release of their hit album Papa Cokote. Indeed, Tropicana is a hard-core Haitian music institution, famous for elaborate verbal riffs and modestly inspirational tunes. With countless hit songs, which include "Yolande, Limonade, Veye Priye, Angelique, Kimbe Dimite, Fleure adore, Nou refize Gran moune, and the forever popular Ti j Jocelyn, among numerous other recordings. Tropicana has touched on almost every subject, articulating Haitian society vices, bias, misconceptions, and cultural costumes. The band has proven to be more than just a fluke of talent, but rather true masters of an art form, a versatile group, and an endurable successful force within the music industry.
Over the years, Tropicana has proven to be one of the most enduring and the greatest of Haitian bands whose unique phrasing and harmony conjure jovial emotion among Konpa fans everywhere. What is unfortunate, however, is that the younger generation (those in their mid 20's) has an unfounded tendency to believe that you must be in your 50's or 60's to enjoy Tropicana or witness one of their performances. Contrarily, I must emphasize that "an educated music fan can learn to appreciate good music regardless of the era or generation", to quote what my father has often reiterated to myself and my brothers.
With the movement of Haitian music in a direction where digital bands dominate the industry over the past decade, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are veteran groups out there. Nevertheless, Tropicana, and other bands like Septentrional (since 1948), and Tabou Combo (since 1968) have put other styles of Haitian music in the spotlight. In this unstable music industry, it is very rare to find a group with such a high caliber of musicians who has stayed together as long as Tropicana without intermediate breakage. Since the early 1960's Tropicana has been at the heart of Haitian music, and has made profound contributions to the evolution Konpa.
Tropicana is one of the most admired
Heritagekonpa and its staff would like to take this moment to thank Tropicana's musicians for their contribution to Haitian music. .