This past Saturday, June 23, 2018, Lakou Brooklyn played a wonderful evening of music at a beautiful new Haitian-owned restaurant and bar, Meli Melo, in Valley Stream, NY. The spot is large and tastefully designed, has good food and hospitality, and is very conveniently located, with ample parking and an LIRR train station across the street. They are looking to promote more music programming, and Lakou Brooklyn looks forward to the next opportunity to perform there.
The core quartet of myself, Bobby Raymond on bass, Monvelyno Alexis on guitar and vocals, and Godwin Louis on soprano & alto sax, was also joined by the wonderful Mr. Jean Caze, one of the finest trumpet players you will hear. Jean was gracious enough to sit in with us for most of the evening, and we had a blast. Jean is featured prominently on both my first CD - Tanbou nan Lakou Brooklyn, and my first Soundkeeper Release, Equinox. - See the discography page for samples and links. The crowd was most attentive and supportive, and a wonderful time was had by all!
Tomorrow, the band will record a session for our next project for the audiophile label Soundkeeper Recordings. The label is run by master audio engineer, Barry Diament, whose mission statement is thus: The goal of every Soundkeeper Recording is to bring the listener to the performance, to create the feeling the listener is in the presence of the musicians, in the space where the performance actually took place.
This will be my second time recording a project with Barry, and I am so excited to play this new material, with this incredible bunch of musicians, for the benefit of Barry's recording techniques, which are also pretty amazing to behold. I could not ask for a more talented and sympathetic cast of musicians than Bobby, Monvelyno and Godwin. My goal is to create opportunities that will allow their talents to shine, while celebrating the rich legacy of Haitian music, as well as #BAM (Black American Music - i.e. Jazz traditions). Looking forward to sharing more on this very soon!
Just returned from a beautiful whirlwind of a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with Ches Smith's We All Break. Man, I love playing with this band! And, we performed at an incredible venue, Centro Cultural Kirchner, one of the largest cultural centers in the world.
The Sala Sinfonica is an incredible main concert hall at the facility, and is absolutely gorgeous, with excellent acoustics. The free concert we put on was very well-attended, and was filmed for broadcast on Argentina television as well. I hope to receive a link to the archived show once its available. The audience was extremely attentive and engaged, and many folks hung around afterwards to ask questions and meet the band.
The next day, we did a master class at another very interesting venue, El Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti, which was once an infamous military base and detention center, now transformed into a center for the arts. The participants asked some great questions, and we got a chance to share information and demonstrate traditional Haitian Vodou drumming, and Ches explained a bit about some of the principles at play in that music, which inform and inspire his original compositions for piano and percussion.
Band photos courtesy of Vale Marchese
Earlier this month, I had the great fortune to travel out West for a short series of concerts with the incredible saxophonist David Sanchez, and his amazing band Carib…Read More
Master percussionist and bona fide tanbourinè, Markus Schwartz, reflects on his own private Haiti and his relationship with “the oldest instrument after the human voice.”Read More
Even a small sampling of the drumming styles in Haitian Vodou music reveals an incredible depth and diversity of repertoire. Each zone of the country has its own distinct drumming traditions, which are often not shared by drummers from other areas. Several of my Haitian drum teachers, who for this very reason dedicated years to traveling around the country for the research and documentation of their own Vodou heritage, have told me that no one person could ever possibly know all the different drum rhythms played in Haiti.Read More