Mélissa Laveaux

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - RYAN B. PA­TRICK

Radyo Si­wèl

Right off the bat, there is an im­me­di­ate temp­ta­tion to com­pare Mon­tre­al­born singer-song­writer Mélissa Laveaux to Amer­i­can mu­si­cian Meshell Nde­geo­cello. But that does nei­ther artist any favours. With Radyo Si­wèl, Laveaux blends throaty vo­cals with acous­tic soul and the mu­si­cal sen­si­bil­i­ties of her Haitian her­itage. In­deed, Radyo Si­wèl deftly mines

el­e­ments of ca­lypso, roots, jazz, blues and Cre­ole folk — in ad­di­tion to a dis­tinct vo­cal and per­cus­sive fin­ger-style gui­tar — to present a uniquely mem­o­rable French-lan­guage of­fer­ing. There is an over­rid­ing feel of re­flec­tion over the pro­ceed­ings, in­formed by Le­veaux’s de­sire to ex­plore how Haiti’s past — no­tably the Amer­i­can oc­cu­pa­tion of Haiti from 1915 to 1934 — has im­pacted the na­tion’s present and po­ten­tial fu­ture. Her abil­ity to pay re­spects to her his­tory with a hard-rock­ing sound is highly im­pres­sive. At 12 tracks, Radyo Si­wèl doesn’t over­stay its wel­come and is speck­led with enough gems to leave a last­ing im­pres­sion. It’s a bit cliche to say Mélissa Laveaux is “one to watch,” yet here we are. (No For­mat!, www.no­for­mat.net)

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