The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

Wa Di Yo Lakou Mizik Cum­ban­cha/Planet From the earth­quake that dev­as­tated Haiti in the sec­ond week of 2010 emerged a nine-piece multi-gen­er­a­tional roots-re­vival band that’s been blow­ing away lo­cals in Port-au-Prince and is now set to en­gage with the world at large. Re­flect­ing the African, French and Amer­i­can in­flu­ences that co­ag­u­late in Haitian mu­sic, Lakou Mizik in­ter­sperses waves of up­beat car­ni­va­lesque groove with the laid-back vibe that also char­ac­terises Caribbean is­land mu­sic. Wa Di Yo kicks off with a tra­di­tional romp in which mes­meris­ing drumming and wheezy zy­deco-es­que ac­cor­dion un­der­pin trum­pet­ing cor­nets and in­can­ta­tions. The al­bum con­cludes 10 tracks later with the ti­tle cut, an ul­tra-soul­ful band orig­i­nal pro­pelled by clat­ter­ing cow­bells that re­ver­ber­ates with at­ti­tude and de­fi­ance. As the (trans­lated) catch­line de­clares: “You tell them — we’re still here.” In be­tween, there are con­trasts in style and feel, from lighter zouk-like tra­di­tional num­bers to breezy call-and-re­sponse songs driven by gui­tar and ac­cor­dion riff­ing and voodoo-in­formed per­cus­sion. The band’s vo­cal strength and har­monic ex­cel­lence is em­pha­sised in a cou­ple of short a cap­pella pieces. The sole fe­male mem­ber gets to ex­er­cise her vo­cal cords via well-ar­ranged in­dige­nous works, one con­nected by a toastin’ bridge. With band mem­bers’ ages rang­ing from early 20s to late 60s, Lakou Mizik could be clas­si­fied as a Haitian cousin of its fa­mous Cuban neigh­bour, the Buena Vista So­cial Club, or, from the per­spec­tive of ge­n­e­sis, the Caribbean coun­ter­part of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.

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