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MONVELYNO - KOUZEN AZAKAMEDE | Turning Traditional Songs Into Jazzy Voodoo Pieces

Scheduled to be released in September, 2010, Kouzen Azakamede , the introductory album from the series "Kòd ak Po" (Strings and Skins) is an original rendition of some of the most popular pieces from our traditional/vodun repertoire. Guitarist Monvelyno Alexis revisits standards with a fresh look to bring a new breath of life to the genre. With eight compositions of his own out of thirteen tracks, he introduces himself as a valuable contributor to an area where few players venture.

Voodoo music is considered by many as an experimental genre. A few musicians are attracted by this uncharted musical territory because of its challenges. Some say the material is too raw and the drums are too much. It takes a specific commitment to understand, to feel and to internalize this specific language that is almost unknown from many musicians. This first album deserves our attention because it brings a new addition to the repertoire of voodoo music. The music brings a lot of joy to our soul because it speaks straight to our hearts.

Monvelyno Latest CD Release | Kouzen AzakamedeThe tunes are open and the Haitian drums sound so beautiful with dazzling arrangements. The guitarist's scat is unique (Erzulie) and he amazingly explores six of our multiple traditional rhythms with an emphasis on both Nago and Mayi cadence. Other tempos such as petwo, kongo and even ibo associated with soukous take the listener to a journey toward a voodoo music nuances (re)discovery. Even his ballads, Mwen Anvi for instance, are built on the same rhythm (Nago) with a tempo reduction. Last but not least, his solos on pieces such as Mwen Rantre, Veve Ogoun , Danbalahwèdo.. and so onů are beautiful statements of love for this culture that he cherishes through a true samba voice.


Monvelyno's guitar takes us to the hubs of voodoo culture to extract the essentials from the drums and sacred/traditional melodies. He serves a concoction with well balanced ingredients especially the work on the various rhythms that are the core of this opus. And by doing so, he is shaping the contours of "Voodoo jazz" because he revisits our traditional repertoire and turns our popular melodies into true voodoo Jazz standards.
Ayibobo Kouzen!

Listen to Veve Ogoun - CLICK HERE!

French Version/Version Française (Click here/Cliquez ici)

Alphonse Piard, Jr.
Thursday, September 9, 2010


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