# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Various - Haiti Direct

  by Daniel Cressey

published: 28 / 1 / 2014

Various - Haiti Direct
Label: Strut Records
Format: CD X2


Excellent double CD compilation that examines the under-explored but rich musical landscape of Haiti in the 1960s and 1970s

Maybe it is being Francophone in a part of the world dominated by English- and Spanish-speakers. Maybe it is the crushing poverty that keeps it off most tourist radars. But Haiti's music has generally remained under-explored. While the distinctive cultures of fellow Caribbean nations Cuba and Jamaica have become global phenomenons, many people's knowledge of Haiti's musical outputs starts and end with former-Fugee Wyclef Jean. This is the problem that 'Haiti Direct' hopes to answer. Melding African rhythms, jazz improvisation, touches of salsa and swing, this exploration of the sound of Haiti in the 60s and 70s presents a fairly convincing argument that those who neglect the music of this nation are missing out. From the salsa-sounds of 'twoubadou' to the jazzier 'compas' style 'Haiti Direct' is a delight. For those – like this reviewer – who are not au fait with the plethora of related musical genres spawned in this apparently hugely productive period of Haiti's musical history, fear not, there are copious and enlightening liner notes setting apart the meringue from the mini jazz. Some tracks are more insistent than compelling, and the sheer range of music covered here means parts will inevitably not be to all tastes. But when it hits its stride it is as joyous a musical experience as could be wished for. And as an advert for a nation's musical flair, you could not ask for much more than this.

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