Almost two years ago, the Haitian music collective Lakou Mizik took audiences in an unsuspecting direction when it released its then latest album, HaitiaNola. The album was a celebration of the musical and cultural ties between Haiti and New Orleans. It proved (and proves still today) to be a successful offering from the group, too. The group’s recently released follow-up to that album, Leave The Bones is just as much of a success. That is due in no small part to its featured arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. They form the album’s backbone. The lyrical content that accompanies the noted arrangements add their own interest to the presentation and will be discussed a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this album. All things considered, they make the album another positive offering from Lakou Mizik’s and a unique new addition to this year’s field of new World Music offerings.
Lakou Mizik’s recently released album, Leave The Bones is a presentation that will appeal equally to the group’s established audiences and World Music fans alike. That is due in large part to the record’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are important to note because as was the case in HaitiaNola, they continue to show change from the group. In this case, the growth is due to the group’s partnership with electronic music artist Joseph Ray. As information provided states about the partnership, Ray had originally wanted to work with the group for the sake of sampling. That original intent led to this album’s creation. Whether it be the group’s traditional instrumentation against Ray’s steady beats in ‘No Rival!,’ which itself makes the song a fitting club style composition, or the subtle ambience of Ray’s electronics against the vocals in ‘Zeb Ate’ (which creates such a uniquely relaxed sense throughout its body), or even the EDM style approach taken in ‘Kite Zo A,’ the arrangements present such an interesting blend of styles and cultures. The joining of those elements in each arrangement makes the record in whole, a work that will appeal equally to electronic music fans, those of World Music in general, and those of Lakou Mizik. That is because it once again offers something so unique to all involved from one song to the next. The result is a record that is well worth hearing at least once if only for its musical content. Of course the musical arrangements are just one part of what makes the album so unique. The lyrical content featured throughout the album makes for its own interest.
The lyrical content featured throughout Leave The Bones is of note because it covers just as much ground (so to speak) as the record’s musical content. The whole thing opens with what is clearly a ceremonial chant of sorts in ‘Sanba Yo Pran Pale.’ Roughly translated, the song’s title means ‘Musicians Are Talking.’ It is in this song that the speaker states, “The poets are talking/The poets are talking in the yard/They are calling out/The poets start to talking in the yard/The poets call out/O Angels/With all the…I am calling the spirits.” Some of the content here is difficult to translate, but it clearly comes across as a chant. That is even clearer considering the fashion in which the noted lines are sung. There is a certain call and response here that is so common of chants. It makes for its own interesting presentation that leaves one wanting to learn more about this song and how it connects to the Haitian culture and people.
On a completely different note, the early entry, ‘Lamize Pa Dous’ (Poverty Is Not Sweet’) is a serious song. In this case, the statement that “I am sick/I’m in bed/I can’t get up/I am not from here/God calls me/I am leaving…Look how I am sick/God calls me/I am leaving” works well to help understand the song’s title. The lack of quality health care is a very real and serious issue in Haiti. That is connected to the poverty that continues to ravage the nation to this day. Continuing from there, the speaker sings, “O angel/Misery is not sweet/I will look for a better life somewhere else.” Once again, here is a starting point for a discussion on the poverty that has ravaged Haiti and continues to do so to this day. It is a powerful statement and another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. It is just one more example of that importance, too. ‘Nou Tout Se Moun’ (We Are All People’) is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.
‘We Are All People’ delivers a simple but strong message as its subject calls for everyone to “Watch over me” before stressing “We are all humans on Earth.” The message here is one of unity, plain and simple. It is refrained over and over throughout the song along with the call to be watched by all. It is a message that the world will always need, especially today. To that end, it is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. When the lyrical content and musical content alike are considered together, the end result is a record whose overall content makes for plenty of reason in themselves for audiences to hear this record. It is collectively just part of what makes this album worth hearing. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.
The production that went into the creation of Leave The Bones is important to examine because of, again, the contrast of the group’s traditional musical presentation alongside the more modern electronic music elements. The two sides are well-balanced against one another in each song. The result in each song is that the two sides compliment one another so well. It ensures that audiences’ will appreciate both sides and in turn appreciate the album in whole for everything that went into each work. When this is considered along with the importance of the album’s musical and lyrical content, all three items collectively make the album in whole another unique offering from Lakou Mizik and another unique addition to this year’s field of new World Music offerings.
Lakou Mizik’s latest album, Leave The Bones has strong bones itself. It is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. That is evidenced in part through the album’s musical arrangements. The arrangements in question blend traditional Haitian musical influences and elements so well with more mainstream electronic influences from one song to the next. That combination makes each song so interesting from one to the next. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are important in that they are just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements. What’s more, the way in which the themes are addressed is unique in itself from one to the next. The production that went into the record ensures the Haitian and American influences are expertly balanced in each work. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of Leave The Bones. All things considered, they make the album another interesting offering from Lakou Mizik and an equally interesting addition to this year’s field of new World Music offerings.
Leave The Bones is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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