Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ New LP Towers Over Its Counterparts In Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Albums List

Courtesy: Record Kicks

As the year finally winds down its final days, the attention for many companies turns to the new year and the new crop of records already planned for the first quarter of the year.  As attentions turn to thew new year and its new albums, attention should also remain on the current year’s albums.  This year produced so many standout records from across the musical universe.  From rock and hard rock to pop to neo-soul and more, the offerings presented to audiences were many to say the very least.  Keeping that in mind, any critic will agree assembling the list of the year’s top new albums overall is a chore, but one that must happen.  This year’s top new albums are mainstream and independent alike, at least on this critic’s list.

Hannah Williams & The Affirmations easily made their way onto this critic’s final musical year-ender list with their new album 50 Foot Woman as did Slipknot, Sara Potenza and even Joel Ross.  Again, this list was anything but easy to assemble, but it did finally come together.  It is presented here complete with five honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2019 Top 10 New Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW ALBUMS

  1. Hannah Williams & The Affirmations — 50 Foot Woman
  2. Devin Townsend — Empath
  3. Slipknot — We Are Not Your Kind
  4. Joel Ross — Kingmaker
  5. Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Jazz & Art
  6. Lakou Mizik — HaitiaNola
  7. Diana Panton — Cheerful Little Earful
  8. Am I Dead Yet? — Am I Dead Yet?
  9. Carlos Santana — Africa Speaks
  10. The Magpie Salute — Highwater II
  11. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Signs
  12. The Sh-Booms — The Blurred Odyssey
  13. Sara Potenza — Sara Potenza
  14. Wargirl — Wargirl
  15. Hootie & The Blowfish — Imperfect Circle

 

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Lakou Mizik’s Sophomore LP Leads This Year’s List Of Best New World Music Albums

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Having a global view on things is one of the most important things that anyone can do today.  We as a people do better when we see and understand other nations’ cultures than when we look at our own backyards.  One of the most important part of those other cultures that everyone should take in is the music connected to said ways of life.  Much of that music is made available to audiences every year through various record labels.  With their release is a justified annual list of the year’s top new World Music albums.  this year’s list brings music from France, the nations of Africa, Hungary and many other parts of the world.  The styles are just as varied as the nations from which they come, too.

As with every list from this critic, the top 10 new titles are featured along with five honorable mentions.  That brings the list to a total of 15 titles.  Looking at the albums’ overall content, it made this list as difficult as every other list to assemble, but here for your consideration is the final list for those titles for this year.  Without further ado, here’s Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New World Music Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW WORLD MUSIC ALBUMS

  1. Lakou Mizik — HaitiaNola
  2. Amankor — The Exile
  3. Romano Drom — Give Me Wine
  4. The Good Ones — Rwanda, You Should Be Loved
  5. Dexter Story — Bahir
  6. Grupo Fantasma — American Music Volume 7
  7. Sessa — Grandeza
  8. Ateshkhan Yuseinov — Strange Suite
  9. Jake Shimabukuro — The Greatest Day
  10. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To Eastern European Music
  11. World Music Network — The Rough Guide to World Jazz
  12. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Africa Cafe
  13. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Paris Cafe
  14. Putumayo — Putumayo Presents Ska Across The World
  15. Carlos Xavier — Viva Todo Ahora

 

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Nooky Jones’ New EP Is The “Sweetest” Of 2019’s New EPs

Courtesy: Press Junkie PR

EPs are some of the most under- and unappreciated records in the music industry.  Composed sometimes of no more than three songs, others as many as six or seven songs, they are often overlooked by audiences simply because they are not full-length recordings.  Given, sometimes they are little more than space-fillers to tide fans over between albums, but in other cases, they are chances for new, up-and-coming acts to get their feet in the door.  Whether one is the case or the other, the fact of the matter is that EPs deserve just as much credit as their full-length counterparts.  That is something that this critic has preached for years.  Keeping that in mind, they deserve a year-ender “Best Of” list as those records, and that is exactly what is presented here.

From Sister Hazel’s latest EPs Fire and Earth to underground rockers Charm City Devils’ latest offering 1904 to indie artist Denim’s new EP Endless Summer and more, this year has provided a lot to appreciate in the way of EPs.  There’s some rock here, some r&b and even some reggae, so this list is not limited to just one genre.  As with every list, this list features the Top 10 titles plus five honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Those honorable mentions are not bad titles.  Everything was based on general content overall and the records’ separate lyrical and musical content.  Without further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New EPs.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW EPS

  1. Nooky Jones — Like Candy
  2. Sister Hazel — Fire
  3. Sister Hazel — Earth
  4. Santana — In Search of Mona Lisa
  5. Denim — Endless Summer
  6. Joyous Wolf — Place in Time
  7. Lakou Mizik & The 79ers Gang — Iko Kreyol
  8. ZFG — ZFG
  9. Hot 8 Brass Band — Take Cover
  10. Charm City Devils — 1904
  11. The Jacks — The Jacks
  12. Wake Hate — Deep Sleep
  13. 18th & Addison — Old Blues / Modern Love
  14. The Crash Republic — HomewreckersSweet Apathy
  15. August Burns Red — Phantom Sessions

 

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‘HaitiaNola’ Successfully Spans Cultures And Nations

Courtesy: Cumbancha

Haitian music collective Lakou Mizik returns later this month with its sophomore album HaitiaNola.  Scheduled for release Oct. 25, the 14-song album is a positive follow-up to the group’s 2016 debut Wa Di Yo.  It is a presentation that is meant to celebrate the connection between Haiti and New Orleans, and does that quite well in so many ways from start to finish both musically and lyrically.  One of the most notable songs that celebrates that connection comes a little more than halfway through the album’s 71-minute (one hour, 11-minute) run time in the form of ‘Lakou Dogwe.’  It will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lead single ‘Iko Kreyol’ is another notable way in which the group celebrates its Haitian and New Orleans roots with this record.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Mizik Sa Yo,’ the album’s closer is yet another notable way in which Lakou Mizik celebrates its culture in this record.  It will also be addressed later.  When it is considered along with each of the other songs mentioned here and the rest of the album’s featured songs, the whole of the album makes it a presentation that is easily one more of this year’s best and most important World Music albums.

Lakou Mizik’s sophomore album HaitiNola is a solid follow-up to the group’s 2016 debut Wa Di Yo.  That is because of the way in which the album’s featured songs celebrate the connection between the group’s Haitian and New Orleans roots.  One of the songs that serves to so effectively pay homage to both cultures comes late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Lakou Dogwe.’  In English, that translates to ‘Temple Ritual.’  Famed singer-songwriter Anders Osborne makes a guest appearance on the song on guitar, which as the liner notes state, is about a vodou ceremony involving people welcoming spirits as they enter the temple.  That should not be mistaken for Voodoo, which is different from vodou.  Vodouists believe in one “Good God” known as Bondye.Bondye is served by a series of Ioa – spirits who serve Bondye.  It is not a polytheistic religion, but rather one that involves the servants of the one God being worshipped.  It is itself rooted in the West African Vodun religion.  This song celebrates that connection back to Haiti’s African religious roots and is so audible in the song’s arrangement.  The arrangement features what certainly sound distinctly like African drums, bells and other percussive elements.  Even the vocals conjure thoughts of so many African songs.  The combination of that whole – the instrumentation and vocals – stands out in its celebration of the group’s present and past.  The song’s lyrical content, which talks about the ancient Vodou ritual adds even more interest to the song.

The song opens, stating, “The first ancestors were there in the Kingdom of Dahoney (in Africa)/The first ancestors were there in the kingdom with badjia, the family was there/In the lakou ritual, we greet the twins – the spirits of abundance.  The song continues, “In the village of Lokan are all of the spirits of Vodou/Ogou Badagris (older, wiser spirit of war/we are here/Ogou Batala (youthful soldier spirit) we are here/Ogou Balendjo (navy captain and medic) we are here/Oshen Nago (gatekeeper of Nago ritual) we are here/Giving thanks to Bassou (the bull spirit)/Giving thanks to Bassou and the Vodou ceremony.”  There is no hidden meaning to anything here.  This is very simply, just a musical visualization of how the Vodou ceremony that is Lakou Dogwe takes place.  It brings outsiders into that ceremony and illustrates how it works.  If for no other reason than to educate audiences about an element of Haitian culture, this content is noteworthy.  When it couples with the tone of the song’s musical arrangement, the end result is a work that shows in its own way, why Lakou Mizik’s latest album is a wonderful tribute to the group’s cultural roots.  It is just one of the songs that pays tribute to the group’s roots so well.  The album’s lead single ‘Iko Kreyole’ is another key exhibition of the group’s celebration of the connection between Haiti and New Orleans.

‘Iko Kreyole’ is perhaps the most blatant of the album’s celebration of Lakou Mizik’s connection between Haiti and New Orleans.  That is clear in part through the song’s musical arrangement.  The arrangement features members of the famed New Orleans-based Preservation Hall Jazz Band as well as members of Arcade Fire, which is from Montreal – a French region of Canada.  This is important considering the fact that the French controlled Haiti for a very long time before many Haitians left their homeland for Haiti.  At the same time,  many Acadians (French citizens who eventually moved to Canda) made their way to New Orleans, too, creating what is today Creole.  Keeping this in mind, that combination of New Orleans and French-Canadian is very symbolic here.  The combination of the groups’ distinct sounds creates a whole that is just as notable as the symbolism of the unity, with its horns, electronics and percussion.

The symbolic collective of Lakou Mizik with Arcade Fire’s members and those of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band gives ‘Iko Kreyole’ a clear presentation of the celebration of Lakou Mizik’s connection between Haiti and New Orleans that every listener will enjoy.  The addition of the song’s lyrical content makes that celebration stand out even more.  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 song continues in its second verse, “We are united in music, represented by our flags/Whichever road we take, we are eventually going to meet/When we pay the rara cornet, we harmonize with trumpets and trombones/Proving that we are family, We are Creole.”  The celebration continues with mentions of marching down St. Bernard and taking part in Mardi Gras while also paying tribute to certain family members.  The whole of the song, lyrically, is a work that does a wonderful job of celebrating Lakou Mizik’s Haitian and Creole connection.  The addition of the infectious beats to the song in its musical arrangement, makes the song just as enjoyable musically as it is lyrically.  The end result of that combination is a song here that is yet another key example of how well the album pays tribute to Lakou Mizik’s past and present.  It is just one more example of how well it does just that.  It is not the last example of how well the group does that, either.  The album’s closer, ‘Mizik Sa Yo’ is one more way that Lakou Mizik pays tribute to its culture.

‘Mizik Sa Yo’ pays tribute to a unique part of the group’s culture as its takes on the control that the nation’s elite have on information dissemination.  The song’s musical arrangement once again couples the group’s Haitian roots with a more New Orleans sound for a whole that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  The song’s lyrical content is even more powerful than the song’s musical content, with the group stating in the song’s lead verse, “Attention everyone – There’s too much bad music on the radio/Music in our country never talks about how we can enrich the knowledge of the youth/Down with all the bad music they play on the radio!/Kids need to listen to music that will help them learn/It’s time we started to sing about how we feel, what we need, who we are and what can help us!”  The song continues in its second verse, “They don’t want us to advance, they want us to stay where we are/Independence is a bad joke/Division, religion, division/Division, corruption/religion/They never play these songs/The DJs don’t play these songs/The radio won’t play these songs/It’s Devil music, Vodou music, these songs/They ignore our own culture, these songs!/But Lakou Mizik plays these songs/Show them the way/They gave us “religion” for them to reign/They sabotage our history to make us forget who we are/They control our education and look down on our culture so youth have no soul.”  This is a powerful message.  It is to Haiti what maybe acts, such as Bob Dylan, Rage Against The Machine and others are to American audiences taking on the establishment.  It is a true tribute and dedication to their people and culture, and a fitting finale for the album.  Add in the energetic, forceful vibes in the song’s arrangement, and the whole stands out on its own merits that audiences are certain to latch onto.  It is just one more way in which HaitiaNola shines.  When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of the album makes itself one more of this year’s most outstanding new World Music albums.

Lakou Mizik’s forthcoming sophomore album HaitiaNola is an outstanding new offering from the Haitian music collective.  It is so engaging and entertaining in part because of its musical arrangements, which pay homage to the group’s connections both to New Orleans and to Africa.  The album’s lyrical content does just as much to directly pay tribute to those connections.  The whole of those elements, in the songs noted here and the songs not noted, makes the album a work that will keep listeners engaged and entertained from start to finish.  All in all, the album proves to be one more of the year’s top new World Music offerings.  More information on the album is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.lakoumizik.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LakouMizik

 

 

 

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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:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.lakoumizik.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LakouMizik

 

 

 

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Klaasen’s ‘New Journey’ Is Phil’s Picks’ Most Enjoyable Musical Trip This Year

Courtesy: Justin Time Records

Courtesy: Justin Time Records

World Music is one of the most underappreciated genres of music at least among American audiences.  Odds are that’s because it is…well…World music.  In most cases, World Music albums with lyrics are sung in the native tongues of their performers and very rarely come with English translations.  That in turn leads to audiences being very turned off by albums within the genre.  However, there are those albums that provide at least some lyrics, which can be translated or at least some explanation of the songs in English.  Keeping all of this in mind, World Music is a genre that this critic feels deserves more attention and credit than it receives at least by American audiences.

This year’s crop of new World Music offerings is clear proof of the respect that the genre deserves.  New albums from the likes of Romania’s Zmei3, New York’s Los Hacheros, Haiti’s Lakou Mizik and others show World Music is here to stay, and it deserves much more respect and credit than it deserves at least among American audiences.  Having said all of this, presented today is Phil’s Picks’ list of 2016’s Top 10 New World Music Albums.  As with Phil’s Picks other lists, this list includes the year’s Top 10 New titles plus five honorable mentions, bringing its total to 15.  So presented here, everyone, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New World Music Albums.

 

2016 Top 10 New World Music Albums

 

1) Lorraine Klaasen – Nouvelle Journey

 

2) Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo

 

3) Zmei3 – Rough Romanian Soul

 

4) Miramar – Dedication to Sylvia Rexach

 

5) Afro Haitian Experimental Orchestra – Afro Haitian Experimental Orchestra

 

6) ChaWa – Funk ‘N’ Feathers

 

7) Los Hacheros – Bambulaye

 

8) Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Monistic Theory

 

9) Bareto – Impredecible

 

10) Idan Raichel – At The Edge of the Beginning

 

11) Baaba Maal – The Traveller

 

12) Tambou – Toujou Lou

 

13) Mighty Mystic – The Art of Balance

 

14) Aziza Brahim – Abbar el Hamada

 

15) Luisa Maita – Fioda Memoria

 

 

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Lakou Mizik’s Debut LP Is 2016’s First Great World Music Album

Courtesy:  Cumbancha

Courtesy: Cumbancha

The islands of the Caribbean Sea are among the richest in the world when it comes to musical variety and depth.  While being a small, contained region, the islands within the Caribbean have produced some of the biggest names in the music industry for the past half decade or so.  Harry Belafonte, Afro-Cuban All Stars, and Buena Vista Social Club have all hailed from the islands of the region as have Bob Marley and the Whalers, Gloria Estefan, and Tito Puente among so many others.  These are just a handful of acts that have made the Caribbean one of the world’s greatest musical hot spots for decades.  Now yet another act–Lakou Mizik–looks to add its name to that list of greats with its debut full-length studio recording Wa Di Yo.  The Haitian collective’s twelve-song debut offering is a good start for the  group in its attempt to make its mark in the Caribbean music community.  That is thanks in large part to the combination of its infectious musical compositions and its equally insightful lyrical content.  The album’s closer and title track is just one example of how that mix of music and lyrics makes Wa Di Yo such a solid first effort from Lakou Mizik.  ‘Anba Siklon’ (In A Hurricane) is another example of how that mix makes this record an impressive debut for Lakou Mizik.  The same can also be said of the album’s first full track ‘Poze’ (Calm Down).  Its semi-zydeco sound coupled with its lyrics makes it a great starting point for the group and just one more example of how the album’s music and lyrics together make it not just an impressive first effort from Lakou Mizik but also the year’s first great new World Music offering.  That is not to ignore any of the album’s other songs.  Each of those tracks is just as important to the album’s success.  Altogether, the twelve songs that make up the body of this record make it a record that any World Music aficionado should have in his or her own music library.

Lakou Mizik’s debut full-length studio record Wa Di Yo is 2016’s first great World Music offering.  Roughly translated from its Haitian Creole root the album’s title means “The King Said To Them.”  Considering the album’s overall musical content it comes across as a fitting title.  That is because the lyrics within each of the album’s twelve songs seem to flow from the group like powerful words from an unnamed ruling person or body to the masses.  The power in those messages couple with the album’s musical arrangements to make the album one that every World Music aficionado should have in his or her personal music library.  That is evident right from the album’s closer and title track.  In regards to its musical content, the song mixes the Lakou Mizik’s traditional Haitian musical elements with guitars and drums for a gentle, flowing sound that will move listeners in its own deep fashion.  The song’s lyrical content will move listeners just as much with its stirring messages of hope and emotional strength.  Those messages are evident as the group sings, “I forseen the path The devil’s built walls to block me/Despite what I went through/I try to cross through/The rivers will not pull me down/I fall, I fall.”  The group goes on to sing in the next verse, “As long as you’re alive/Don’t give up the fight/You are in a battle/Life is up but sometimes upside down/Those who don’t understand say I’m lazy/You are wrong I say/Those who don’t understand Say that I didn’t start the game well/It’s not rue/Light.”  These positive sentiments exhibit quite well exactly what is meant in saying that the album’s insightful lyrical content and musical content make it so impressive.  There are also mentions of God’s angels and just as much other inspiration for audiences.  In itself the song’s lyrical content more than exhibits what makes this song a clearly smart addition to the album’ body.  Together with the song’s gentle, flowing musical content, both elements make this song one of Wa Di Yo’s best moments and just one example of why the album is 2016’s first great World Music offering.  It is just one example of what makes the album so great, too.   ‘Anba Silkon’ is another example of what makes this album stand out so well.

Wa Di Yo’s closer/title track is a prime example of what makes Lakou Mizik’s new album 2016’s first great World Music Offering.  That is thanks to the combination of the song’s musical arrangement and its deeply thought-provoking lyrical content.  It is only one example of what makes the album stand so tall above the year’s other World Music offerings so far.  ‘Anba Siklon’ (‘In A Hurricane’) is another important addition to the album.  Just as with ‘Wa Di Yo’ that is thanks to the juxtaposition of its lyrical and musical content.  In terms of its musical arrangement the song comes across in rather celebratory style complete with tambourine, guitar, and what sounds like an accordion.  It might in fact be something wholly other than an accordion.  That is just this critic’s own thought.  What’s interesting about all of this together is that one could argue that it is in direct contrast to the song’s lyrical theme.  In regards to the song’s lyrical theme, it comes across as a commentary centered on people from other countries capitalizing on the trials faced by the people of Haiti.  That inference is made as the group states in the song, “While the hurricane hits/In that bad weather/Some people are changing 7 into 9/While the hurricane hits/In that bad weather/Some people are changing 4 into 8/Hmmm/They changing 7 into 9/Hmmm/They changing 4 into 8.”  This is a reference to certain parties falsifying data about the number of people affected by natural disasters and other trials faced by the people of Haiti and their corrupt morals in doing so.  The group goes on to sing, “Why are you laughing about my problems/Contributing to my suffering/You trample on my happiness/Have mercy/You trample on my culture/Why do you take advantage of my weakness/You are using my pain/Have mercy/Haiti will change/We’ll see/This country will move forward/We’ll see Haiti will rise/We’ll see/Raise your hand and say yes.”  That revelation at the song’s end accounts for the song’s upbeat vibe.  And in hindsight it actually heightens the emotion in the remainder of the song’s lyrical content.  The song’s other lines come across as being deeply emotional at first glance.  But considering that revelation at the song’s end it makes them more of a statement of what the people of Haiti have been put through rather than some oh-woe-is-me statement.  It is a commentary that in whole says despite everything that has happened to the people of Haiti, Haiti will prevail and improve.  It gives the story presented in the song’s lyrical content a wholly different identity.  In turn it leaves listeners thinking even more deeply and talking after the fact.  Keeping that in mind it shows even more why this song is another prime example of what makes Wa Di Yo stand out among this year’s crop of World Music offerings.  Even as important as it is it still is not the last example of what makes the album stand out.  ‘Poze’ (‘Calm Down’) is one more important addition to the album’s body.

‘Wa Di Yo’ and ‘Anba Siklon’ are both key additions to Lakou Mizik’s new album Wa Di Yo.  That is because both songs will leave people thinking and talking long after they (and the album) have ended thanks to the juxtaposition of their lyrical and musical content.  As important as both songs are in presenting the album’s strengths they are anything but the only notable additions to the album.  ‘Poze’ (‘Calm Down’) is just as notable as those songs.  The song’s lyrical content stands as its foundation.  It presents a message that is familiar to every corner of the musical universe.  The message in question is a statement of confidence.  It comes across as a statement to a person’s detractors, noting to those people, “Calm down you people/Keep quiet I say/You people badmouthing me/I won’t pay attention/A message for you/I say keep calm!.”  The song cites an old expression (perhaps Haitian expression?) in its message, noting “Staying calm is the best medicine for the body/You may not fall if you’re not guilty/I’m the strongest/I beat you/I break the record/You agree/After this whip/Your heart pounds/You might ask God to take your life/I put you down calmly.”  The song goes on to point a finger at the gossips and naysayers, leaving no doubt as to the strength of those that stand against said figures.  Yet again the song’s musical content is in direct contrast to its lyrical content.  If this had been penned by any American act it likely would have been quite forceful in terms of its musical content.  Yet here, the song’s musical content is upbeat and just as celebratory as the album’s other songs.  It serves to show again an inner strength in the song’s subject.  Whether in regards to a celebrity addressing the gossip hounds and critics or just a person in general having to deal with people running their mouths the positive vibes presented in the song’s musical and lyrical content paint a picture that listeners will want to experience time and again.  The same can be said of the album’s other offerings.  All things considered Wa Di Yo proves in the end to be the best new World Music offering so far this year.

Wa Di Yo, the debut offering from Lakou Mizik is a solid start for the Haitian music collective.  That is because from its thought-provoking opener to its equally insightful closer it keeps listeners completely engaged.  Its musical  and lyrical content are both at the center of that engagement.  Whether making social statements, semi-political commentaries, or tackling other topics, Lakou Mizik impresses with its debut album from start to finish.  Wa Di Yo will be available in stores and online Friday, April 1st.  More information on the album is available online along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.lakoumizik.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LakouMizik

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LakouMizik

 

 

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