Sergo Decius - Yaya kadjouk | THE UNKNOWN WORLD OF HAITIAN DRUMS
The eruption and success of polyrhythmic music in modern times has brought a series of talented drummers and percussionists to the front scene and has granted them the opportunities to create their own world of sounds by producing outstanding solo works during the last decades. Haitian drums entered this world because of talented percussionists such as François Sergo Decius whose audacity to venture into the unknown territory of Haitian drums solos goes beyond the imaginable.
To illustrate this preamble, I would invite the reader to listen to Yaya Kadjouk, an eight tracks album featuring the drummer/percussionist alone in a thirty minutes conversation with his drums and congas. This dialog is indeed so deep that, at certain moments, the listener would feel being an intruder, a distraction of sorts that interrupts the osmosis process between the musician and his polyrhythmic microcosm. He displays the original approach of combining existing rhythms together to create new hybrids that exemplify the immense creative possibility of this rich repertoire of patterns of beats that is so characteristic of the voodoo culture.
Decius revisits some of the very-well-known beats with the idea of bringing these occulted treasures to light. His opening piece, built on a yanvalou tapestry, is followed by a variation on Mayi beat. The curious listener will also hear pieces with a petwo flavor. It is interesting to note how the same rhythm can be different from one region of Haiti to another one. The yanvalou played by the drummer "swings" and invite graciously to the incessant movement of the upper part of the body. Under Mr. Decius' skilled hands, I found this first track melodious, with subtle touches and smooth contours.
The CD closes on the eponym title Yaya Kadjouk, a piece built on the mix of two rhythms: Ti Yaya and the less known Kadjouk. The latter originates from the Southern part of Haiti and the first one comes from the Centre (Artibonite). As a native of the southern region (Les Cayes), I am thrilled and proud to introduce this beat that originated from this area.
Kudos to Sergo for making this very courageous step of venturing into the unchartered territory of Haitian drums solo. Let us hope he will inspire others.
Alphonse Piard, Jr.
September 18, 2012