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MAKAYA - MAKAYA | A mosaic of styles as an embodiment of Kreyòl Jazz

The Montreal based musical group Makaya launched its first CD in 2009. Since its inception in 2004, the group has worked to develop an original voicing inspired by a confluence of influences ranging from Haitian folk and religious songs, Kompa direk, Biguine to Jazz, World, New Age and Contemporary music. As a result of this development, the music of Makaya reflects the diverse array of styles present in what I would labeled as the Haitian Musical Experience.

Sware Jazz Kreyol - July 19, 2009The open-ended and capacious strings of musical events on this album propose a sequence of twelve (12) portraits where the musicians depict stories that suggest our homeland's cultural aspect and a broader glimpse of Caribbean influence. Their personal touches crystallize an extensive musical vision created likely by the distance from the mother land and the aforementioned confluence of styles they've been experiencing.

Pianist and band leader Bontemps plays forms and images from classical influence. Guitarist Deslouches borrows riffs from blues, Jazz and Caribbean popular music to deliver a cocktail that seems to suit perfectly this crossbreed vision. Percussionists Alisme and Féréol bring a strong root background strewn with subtle twists between Caribbean rhythms sustained by the persistent and soothing groove of bassist Robert-Lavigne. The tracks are diverse as well; ranging from traditional religious pieces like Gede Zariyen, rhythmic hybrid such as Meringue-Biguine and more contemporary approach like Clouds Rain and Sun.

The careful choice of an acoustic expression for their first album, the arrangements, the original and unique voicing of Makaya present similar patterns with previous successful Caribbean musical groups such as Fal Frett and Malavoi. There is the impression of reclaiming a certain legacy as we, in the West Indies, were and remain part of an indefectible communality upon which time and space have no effect. However, the resemblance does not go farther because the conceptions and practices appear remarkably nouveau. This album is a smooth rendition of a unique approach on the Kreyòl Jazz spectrum. Music aficionados will rejoice with this addition to their collection.

Alphonse Piard, Jr.
Friday, July 31, 2009

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