Its official I am in love with the Haitian music. I concur with ‘The Crudem Foundation’ in describing Haitian music as ‘vibrant, danceable, and most often religious or politically charged’. Moreover, I have discovered that Haiti, though a small island nation, has such unique genres of music; that I cannot help but question what has hindered us Kenyans to produce our own original sound of music all these years. Perhaps it is due to their struggle in gaining independence as the first black republic that helped them to be more expressive and artistic in their music. There are so many types of music unique to the small island nation of Haiti such as Twoubadou, kontradans, Rasin, and Zouk amongst others. In French 124 class I was given the task of presenting on Haitian music and it was an incredible journey down memory lane as I discovered so much similarity between their music and culture as well as that of the Seychelles Islands where I grew up.
My favorite genre of Haitian music is the Zouk music, particularly the song called ‘Zouk La Se Sel Medikaman Nou Ni’ which in English means ‘Zouk is the only medicine we got’. I remember dancing to it repeatedly in my first year of high school on 1st of July on Children’s Day. It has a fast tempo jump up carnival style of music that was popularized by the Kassav band, and all my classmates loved it.
You guys can check out my favorite Zouk song played by ‘Kassav’ band by clicking on this link; https://youtu.be/Dd3hjxxcTzw
During the Daystar University culture week, we managed to present a salsa dance of a Haitian Zouk song and the Daystar students really loved it as well. I admire how the Haitians are so expressive in their music and dance, listening to their traditional music videos on YouTube was truly a delight.
You can check out the Haitian traditional songs by clicking on this link;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1DcPdMZs9s&list=PL07B0318CBDEB65CD or discover the more popular genres of music by clicking on this blog link; http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/listen-to-a-sampling-of-popular-haitian-music/. More information on their types of music can be found on the following link; http://crudem.org/music-in-haiti/ where you would not only find basic information on the genres, but also the historical elements and events of the music genres. I think that all Daystar students would be wasting an opportunity if they do not take the French 124 class during their four years of study considering the insight you gain in this class is truly refreshing and inspiring; I guess I should encourage my fellow musicians to stir up their gifts so we can create more of our own original Kenyan vibes.