Music Culture Wednesdays Vol. 10

Every Wednesday I will be introducing great kizomba artists from the PALOP* community that usually don’t receive the recognition they deserve.

Kizomba music comes from all over the PALOP community, not just Angola. All mixes between zouk and Afro rhythms (not to be confused with Afro-house) are normally called kizomba, amongst PALOPS, regardless if the artists or bands are from Guiné-Bissau, Cabo-Verde, São Tomé and Prince, Mozambique or even the Congo (which is not a PALOP country).

This week let’s shift the focus to Haiti because this artist is very well known and appreciated by the PALOP community. 

ALAN CAVÉ

Cavé was born to Haitian parents and spent most of his adolescent years in Haiti. His mother Yanick Jean was a writer, and his father was a poet, writer, and art director named Syto Cavé. Cavé often accompanied his famous father on his tours of the Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia), France, the United States and Canada.

Surrounded by people who loved the arts, and born to writers, it was natural for Cavé to follow in their footsteps. During his adolescence, Alan frequently played guitar, belting out soulful and heartfelt words and melodies that, to many audiences, seemed beyond his age. Cavé’s performance debut happened when an actor in a play fell ill and he was asked to sing the song “La Personne”. The enthusiastic audience reception crystallized for Cavé the desire to have a musical career, and Alan Cavé became a household name in Haiti.

In 1987, he met with Alex Abellard and Eddy Saint-Vil to audition, and Cavé was quickly signed for the group Zin. The group released their first album, “O Pa”, in 1989. More than two decades later, Zin’s guitarist-songwriter Eddy St. Vil, keyboardist and leader Alex Abellard, and its 11 band members remain popular, with sweet ballads and traditional Haitian kompagrooves mixed with the sound of reggae, rhythm and blues, and zouk. Cavé’s voice, sometimes characterized as “seductive,” considerably aided the success of the band.

These are my personal picks and not necessarily the most popular mainstream songs. I hope my post inspires you to continue researching and exploring more on your own!

Enjoy

Kompa – Se Pa Pou Dat – https://youtu.be/joso6k4Y-uI

Kompa – Se Pa Pou Dat Remix – https://youtu.be/p8vz8vZpEyM

Kompa – Famn Dous Mwen – https://youtu.be/6eJfYpLRZYE

Kompa – Chokola – https://youtu.be/sJ4aw1kWXaE

Kompa Twoubadou – Ma Rose – https://youtu.be/1z74LsdfnKM

*PALOP – Portuguese-speaking African countries, also referred to as Lusophone Africa, consists of six African countries in which the Portuguese language is an official language: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe. Besides having a common language, the five former colonies of the Portuguese Empire share a strong “cultural identity, a similar system of governance and a long tradition of contacts and exchanges amongst themselves”. In 1992, the five Lusophone African countries formed an interstate organization called PALOP, a colloquial acronym that translates to African Countries of Portuguese Official Language (In Portuguese: Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa). The PALOP countries signed official agreements with Portugal, the European Union and the United Nations, and they work together to promote the development of culture and education and the preservation of the Portuguese language. Together with Portugal and Brazil in 1996, the Portuguese-speaking African countries established the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Portuguese: Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, abbreviated to CPLP).


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