Literally years in the making, our Haiti Direct collection, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out and available in stores. The two disc collection celebrates the overlooked musical legacy of Haiti, going beyond Ra-ra and voodoo stereotypes to trace the development of a unique sound that echoed across the Caribbean, yet remains relatively under the radar outside of the region.
Support from fans, press, and radio has been amazing, with BBC Radio 6 Music playlisting regularly, and the Sunday Times calling the collection “essential listening.”
Haiti Direct is available on 2xCD, 2xLP (with CD included), and digital download, and can be purchased from local music retailers, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.
Preview three of the tracks from Haiti Direct below.
One of the most interesting aspects of the music and time period covered on our Haiti Direct release is the sheer number of stylistic fusions that characterize Haiti’s music of the 60’s and 70’s. “Pile Ou Face,” by Les Loups Noirs, stands out with the notable influence of American soul music, and the lightly psychedelic elements of the guitar and organ make it especially unique.
From the liner notes:
Led by charismatic singer Gardner Lalanne, Les Loups Noirs (The Black Wolves) were extremely popular in the ’70s, touring extensively and recording across the Caribbean and in New York and Paris. “Pile Ou Face” (heads or tails) is an uncharacteristically experimental instrumental that layers saxophones and swirling organ over a rolling compas beat – a great demonstration of the way that the timbales and percussion sections of the big bands were being replaced by stripped-back cowbell and kick drum at the beginning of the ‘70s.
Haiti Direct, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out today (tomorrow in the US). Pick it up at fine music stores worldwide, or via the links below:
iTunes • Amazon • Strut Store