Listeners Will Celebrate Lakou Mizik’s New EP

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Lakou Mizik recently announced it is scheduled to release its sophomore album, titled HaitiaNola this fall.  While audiences await the album’s arrival, the Haitian musical collective has another treat for audiences to take in, in the form of its forthcoming EP Iko Kreyol.  Set for release July 19, the four-track record features four mixes of the EP’s title song, which is an update on the New Orleans/Creole standard ‘Iko Iko.’  The group takes something old and crosses it with something new both in terms of music and lyrics with this song to make the song’s four different mixes, taking the original song’s lyrics and adding its own new lyrics to that setting while also taking the original song’s musical arrangement,  Those new lyrics are themselves part of what fans of this up-and-coming group will appreciate, and they will be addressed shortly.  The four arrangements that are featured in this EP couple with the song’s proud lyrical content to add just as much interest to the whole as the lyrics themselves, and will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out the most important of its elements, bringing everything together.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Iko Kreyol.  All things considered Iko Kreyol is a good first impression of what is to come later this year from Lakou Mizik in its upcoming album.

Lakou Mizik’s upcoming EP Iko Kreyol is a good first impression of the group’s forthcoming sophomore album HaitiaNola.  That is due in part to the lyrics featured in the song whose four varied mixes make up the body of the EP.  The song’s lyrical content presents a message that echoes the overall theme of HaitiaNola, which is an exploration of the connections between the cultures of Haiti and New Orleans.  The group sings in the song’s lead verse, “My culture is my identity from Haiti to NOLA/Spirits of Congo we are brothers and sisters/We’re ready for all that is against us/Stand firm and tell them we’re here/The drum beats and the roots entwine/We are Creole.”  The group continues on in the song’s second verse just as proudly, singing, “We are united in music, represented by our flags/Whichever road we take, we are eventually going to meet when we play the rara cornet, we harmonize with trumpets and trombones/proving that we are family, we are Creole.”  That pride of the Haitian/Creole connection continues well into the song’s third and final verse, and justifiably so.  The connection between Haiti and New Orleans is very much real.  The end of the Haitian Revolution in 1804 led to an exodus of Haitians into the U.S., specifically into the New Orleans region of the country.  Given new Orleans’ Haitian population is not today what is was in the early 1800s, that connection is still very much there in the city’s culture.  Jambalaya, for instance, which is a staple of the region, is Haitian in its roots.  The French influences in Haiti also permeate New Orleans’ architecture.  Even the region’s music and language are tied back to Haiti.  To that end, the lyrical content featured in this song works directly into the overall theme of HaitiaNola.  Its celebratory nature forms a strong foundation for the song, too; one that easily keeps listeners engaged and entertained.  That foundation is strengthen in this EP through the use of the four different arrangements presented throughout.

The arrangements featured throughout the course of Iko Kreyol each present a different take on the song, incorporating the original arrangement of the traditional ‘Iko Iko’ into each update, for a whole that once again connects the new to the old.  The first of the arrangements stays the truest to its source material, adding in a choral element and some additional percussion elements.  The use of the horns and bass adds a little something extra to the mix, too, making for more interest.  The whole of those elements gives the song the feel of an arrangement that one might expect from a historically black college and university’s marching band.  The song’s Krewe Du Kanaval Mix, — The EP’s second take on the work – is largely similar to the song’s primary take, varying only in the arrangement’s final couple of minutes.  With this take, there is an additional percussion solo nears the three-minute mark.  The choral element is added in a little more to enhance this moment even more.  Other than that, this take is almost identical to the original take.  The song’s third take – Windows 98 Dryades to Bele Mix – is perhaps the most interesting of the song’s takes.  It incorporates the song’s original arrangement, but leans far more toward the EDM side, opting more for effects and sounds than lyrical content.  There are sounds, such as a sonar blip and a siren coupled with the other effects makes this arrangement the song’s most danceable, which is a good thing.  That is because the song, lyrically, is a celebration of sorts.  So having that knowledge, even without lyrics, it makes sense that this upbeat, danceable take on the song was added to the record.  At almost seven minutes in length, it will have everyone on their feet, celebrating the whole time.  The song’s final arrangement featured on this record – the 79rs Gang Version – is another take that is largely akin to its source material, varying only closer to its finale, with another chance to showcase the arrangement’s percussive elements a little bit extra.  While it bears some resemblance to another of the EP’s arrangements, this take still bears its own identity, adding even more to the record’s interest even more.  While the song’s arrangements do their own collective share to make Iko Kreyole an interesting listen, they are not the last of the record’s most notable element.  The record’s overall production adds its own share of interest to its whole, too.

The production of Iko Kreyo is just as important as the song and its variants.  That is because the production is responsible for the general effect of each of the song’s takes.  In listening to each of the EP’s four takes, it is clear that much thought and effort was put into the record’s production, even in the case of the minor variances between some of the takes.  From the use of the percussive elements to the electronics to the horns and even the general balance of the vocals with the song’s other elements, everything is well-balanced throughout each arrangement.  Considering the balance that had to take place between the song’s Mardi Gras style roots and the other noted elements, those behind the boards clearly put a lot of effort and time into making sure each of the noted elements was well-represented in each arrangement.  The end result is four songs that even with theirs similarities, still maintain their own identity and entertain and engage listeners with ease.  Keeping this in mind, the work of those behind the boards producing this record  joins with the song’s arrangements and the song’s lyrical theme to make the whole thing a record that listeners will celebrate as much as the song celebrates Haiti’s connections to New Orleans.

Lakou Mizik’s forthcoming four-track Ep Iko Kreyol is a positive first impression of the group’s upcoming sophomore album HaitiaNola.  That is due in part to the song’s celebratory lyrical theme, which honors Haiti’s connection to New Orleans and its culture.  The four arrangements of the song that make up the body of the record are just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained as the song’s lyrical theme.  The production at the center of the record adds its own touch to the record, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Iko Kreyol.  All things considered, they make the EP an enjoyable first impression from what is certain to be an equally enjoyable album if not more enjoyable.  More information on Iko Kreyol is available online along with all of Lakou Mizik’s latest news and more at:









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