Back in December 2000, a momentous musical event took place in Haiti. Haitiando – Vol. 2 was officially released. Do you remember Vol. I? Well if you do, you are in for another exquisite treat with this one. For starters, the same musicians are here to provide excellent musicianship to a nice collection of Haitian traditional ballads played on traditional Cuban rythms. Eddy Prophète on the piano and Boulot Valcourt as lead vocal make you feel so at ease.
As was the case with Volume I,. Eddy Prophète’s arrangements are a model of finesse, subtlety and underhanded complexity. Listen to each one of the tunes carefully, over and over again, to pick up those subtle phrases. And this is what makes Vol. II a perfect follow-up to Vol. I. Playing violin this time on this CD is Federico Britos Ruiz. What a job he does on tune No. 3 "Caridad", a composition by Ulrick Pierre-Louis . You will love it!.
A wide array of Haitian composers is featured on the CD: Rodolphe Legros, Gérard Dupervil, Jean Benjamin, Ernst Léandre, Guy Durosier and others. The more, the merrier!. In fact, when you look at the wealth of music that our predecessors left us, I think that Fred Paul, the producer, has enough material for quite a few more albums of the genre, each with potential as a collector’s item. I hope this is part of his future plans.
As usual, Boulot Valcourt is at his best . Listen closely to how he phrases the lyrics. Hear the original melodies and you will better appreciate what Boulot does with those melodies. This is the mark of an experienced singer. Raymond Cajuste, another one of my favorite singers, does a wonderful job on tunes Nos. 6, 7 and 11. I also like tune No. 8 "Manzè Rosa", in which Eddy lets loose a little bit, but just enough, so as not to overwhelm the song. If you listen carefully, you will hear him uttering the notes he is playing during his solo, something common to many jazz pianists. Tune No. 9, a Creole adaptation of "Guantanamera", is a very imaginative interpretation of a song which manages to remain fresh, no matter how many times it is played. The lyrics are quite meaningful. Listen to the melodic lines of the piano in tune No. 10, Guy Durosier’s Pamela. This is just wonderful harmony. And what about tune No. 11 "Léogâne" sung by Raymond Cajuste? Guy Durosier’s famous tune receives a catchy cha cha cha treatment by the group.
Now if you ask me which one of those 11 tunes is my favorite, I might say: Tunes No. 3, or 5, or 7, or 10, or 2 or…..In short, all of them. It is imperative that you add this album to your private collection. You will be sorry if you don’t!.