Haiti, a beautiful island of the Caribbean, has been plagued with problems – both of political and social construction – for far too long. The people of Haiti have grown accustom to suffering and frustration, with little voice left after being rendered silent for such a long period of time. Like many other islands that have been subject to sorrow in that part of the world, Haiti's culture has evolved to include messages of hope for a better tomorrow. Within that realm is music: upbeat rhythms bolstering positive lyrics to not only reflect the current and historical circumstances of the country, but also persuade listeners that despite it all, everything is going to be alright.
In comes Haiti's own Wesli, born in Port-au-Prince and son of a preacher woman. Wesli has been a cultural influence since his teenage days, when he released his first full-length LP Horizon. As a connoisseur of Afro-Caribbean beats, Wesli goes further to incorporate all kinds of global musical styles in his art – all delivered in Haitian Creole, of course. Roots and dancehall reggae, modern and Acadian hip hop, gospel and spoken word, even some Irish folk and Cuban rumba influences; nothing is left out from Wesli's musical arsenal. After his second album Liberté in 2011, Wesli did a double-release in February of 2015: Ayiti, Étoile Nouvelle and ImmiGrand, garnishing the artist exponential fans, several awards, and recognition from Billboard and iTunes charts for many weeks. Ayiti, Étoile Nouvelle is an acoustic album, with all proceeds going towards Wesli's own Ayiti Étoile Nouvelle Music School for children living in the Fort Bel Air ghetto of Haiti. Needless to say, Wesli speaks of a better standard of living for his people and makes it a reality through his humanitarian efforts. Few artists actually do this.
Wesli goes further to incorporate all kinds of global musical styles in his art
His fifth album ImmiGrand Deluxe is actually a continuation of his fourth album, to be released on March 11th, 2016. Wesli always uses two drum styles – tata and boula of West Africa – which is paired with an iron bell to keep the beat. With local rara street styles, application of both Caribbean gospel and vodou traditions, and many other genre-bending qualities in between, the new album will appease anyone's personal music preferences. For instance, the second track on the album “Kansa” has flutes with horns with spiritual chant juxtaposed with a beat that blends dancehall with cumbia with progressive EDM. It sounds like it would be overwhelming, but it works. The entire album has this affect on the listener, who cannot ignore how the sound effects and reverb make the most classical sounds transcend into the 21st Century. Each track has its own unique vibe, and another example of this is “Kote Nou Ye” where a Latin flamenco guitar is mixed with a beaded maraca and a wood block to produce a lively Cuban rumba outcome. “Danse Baila Danse” featuring Mes Aieux starts with violins and a harmonica, which takes Americana bluegrass to an island style in the most novel way. This album is a truly incredible ride.
Wesli is about to hit the road on tour as part of globalFEST's 2016 Creole Carnival, extending from March to May and performing three pieces per show as direct support for Emeline Michel. The Carnival will hit 38 North American cities, and for more information, visit globalfest.org.
- Colonisation Feat. Tiken Jah Fakoly
- Kote Nou Ye
- Ca Fait Mal
- Danse Baila Danse Feat. Mes Aieux
- Mama Africa
- Bye Daome
- 3 Fey
- Sous le soleil
- L'Amiral Skarawak
- La pèson Feat. Toto Laraque
- J'ai grandi dans un Ghetto
- Mon Konpè
- Eya Hé
- La VI Dwö!
- Moris Dezo
- Bel Ti Fanm Kreyol Feat. BélO & BIC
- Nèg Makaya (Nu Groov)
WESLI – J'ai Grandi dans un Ghetto feat MikaBen
Release date March 11th, 2016