It was in the 1980's, in a quiet section of Delmas 18 in Port-au-Prince Haiti, that 2 young talented adolescents were going to make history in the Haitian music industry. They were Garry Didier Perez and Jean Brutus Derissaint.
Every afternoon, the young Brutus would sit on his front porch and play the guitar, his favorite instrument. Garry Didier Perez, who at that time was sharing his passion for singing with his friend Patrick Martineau, often noticed Brutus playing his guitar and one day invited him to come to his friend's house with him at Bourdon. Around the years 1986 – 1987, Garry Didier Perez, Patrick Martineau and Jean Brutus Derissaint would meet every afternoon after school to listen to music and to interpret the songs that they liked. They would listen to all genres of music, but the Zouk seemed to have had a greater influence on them, specially groups such as KASSAV, MALAVOI and RALPH TAMAR.
It's been 2 years now and they never thought about forming a band professionally, but they would rehearse often. It was during one of their rehearsal session, that the noise coming from the speakers caused some empty beer bottles to fall off the amp stand and to break into pieces…the guys looked at each other and started to laugh about the ZENGLEN (broken pieces of bottles) that were on the floor at Patrick's house, which he would have to clean afterward. This particular event would serve them well later on.
In early 1989, the trio decided to start recording at the FX Studio of Jo Dore and Gilbert Bailli, a song entitled "Koule Tan (color of time)". Once the song was completed, they would go to several radio stations to distribute it. When they got to Radio Metropole, they met a very popular DJ named Georgio Leon Emile who had a show called "Cadence des Iles (rhythm of the islands)", asked them for the name of the group…they instantly replied ZENGLEN. There was a journalist there, by the name of Nancy Roc, who said "Wow, here is an original name!" It was then for the first time on the airwave of Radio Metropole that Georgio pronounced these words, "Here is a new birth from the Haitian's music new generation."
That same year, the trio released a song called "Fidel" which had a great and tremendous impact in the Haitian music industry. "Fidel" remained one of the most popular songs of the new generation in the Haitian music scene. With so much success, they decided to form a real professional band and to hire a manager. They enlisted the help of Carl-Henri Desmornes who was the brother-in-law of Patrick Martineau. Carl was a great businessman and was also known as a good and serious negotiation. He has contributed greatly to the development of ZENGLEN. Later on, Fanfan was added as a bass player and Didi was also added to the group as an another keyboard player, next to Patrick Martineau.
In the early 90's, Haiti experienced the ZENGLEN fever. The group was in great demand. They were playing at "Bateau Fou" a club in Petion-Ville, at "Chez Harry's Restaurant" every Wednesday night at an event called "Mercredi – Surprise en ete (Wednesday – summer's surprise)", at "Le Magritte", and also every Sunday at "Steak Inn". During that time, ZENGLEN was the darling and the ideal group of the students at the universities. ZENGLEN would be found playing almost everywhere: Blues Festival, graduations, private parties, recreational journeys, etc. During that same period, they released a new album tiled "An Nou Alez" on the Haitian market. That album showcased the talent of the three musical friends.
At the end of 1991, Ernst Benjamin joined the group as a replacement for Fanfan and David Charles was hired as a singer to replace Garry. During the terrible moments of the international embargo imposed upon Haiti, ZENGLEN went on an international tour with all the musicians, with the exception of Patrick Martineau who was studying to become a pharmacist. ZENGLEN fever would hit Boston, New-York, Colombia, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Canada. After analyzing the socio-political difficulties that Haiti was going through, such as the closing of the Universities, embargo and all, the musicians decided to establish themselves in the United States of America.It was in this adoptive land that the group would go from an Electronic/Digital band, to a Full band.
Many musicians have had the opportunity to play with ZENGLEN, among them, the popular singer Gracia Delva who was living in New-York at that time, Gracia was a friend of Bellande Georges (ex-manager of Tabou Combo). At the request of Bellande, he joined the group at the end of 1995. ZENGLEN found in him the ideal singer. His voice, his stage presence, his spontaneity, his energy have attracted many and have also increased the band's popularity . Bellande Georges, considered by many as the father of Gracia, also contributed a lot to the progress of the group. It was in 1995 that Georgio Leon Emile presented Bellande to Brutus who was looking for a manager in the U.S. Bellande devoted his time, energy and his contacts in the music business so that ZENGLEN could expand. As a result of his contacts, ZENGLEN has had some interesting contracts to perform at some official evening soirees, private and popular in Haiti, as well as abroad.
After taking a much needed break, ZENGLEN released a new album in Miami, titled "Tempo", written by Jean-Herard Richard (Richy) who was chosen by Brutus as a co-maestro of the band. In that album, we also found "Easy Compas", another success, written by Jean Brutus Derissaint.
ZENGLEN went through a lot of experiences, but still came out stronger…Gracia Delva left to form his own group, Reginald Cange and Jean Edouard Jean-Baptiste left to pursue other venues. Now, with the new talented singer Kenny Desmangles, and the latest additional singer Darbens Chery, ZENGLEN offers to those who have been faithful and very supportive since the beginning, a musical treasure chest…5 stars that shine and which will continue to shine in the heaven for the future generations.