By Christine Jean-Pierre
Artists like any other human being grow in stages, and Misty Jean is no different. For some time, music lovers have being watching and measuring the growth and strength of this formidable songstress. If there were any doubts on Misty Jean’s newfound sophistication, her new album released last summer has definitely buried those not-so-sure thoughts. In Li pa two ta, the album title, we find a Misty looking refreshed, confident and utterly thrilled to offer her diehard fans scattered across the globe a new recipe from her repertoire filled with dazzling Konpa Love songs.
The album’s cover illustrates the singer as a top model, pausing with a colorful bra top. The album itself contains 12 tracks, and each projects a kind of uniqueness rarely found in traditional Konpa artists; and tracks like Ne Touche pas Homme, Rev Mwen, Li Pa Two Ta and Tu Pleures can only solidify this new and awesome admiration from her fans.
The first track Ne Touche pas Homme is a spectacular intro with an imposing vibe as if the artist wants to say: I’m back. It is a modern hit Konpa arranged and written by Ralph Conde. The theme is love, but the music is conventional, illustrating jealousy as the underlining factor in estranged relationships. The song entails the paranoia of a miserable woman who loves her boyfriend to the core and who goes crazy each time she spots him talking to an other woman.
The album’s second track Rev Mwen is truly one of the finest that Mist Jean has ever produced. It is a Konpa Love that can only bring awe to the hearts of many Konpa and Zouk lovers. In this song, Misty surrounds herself with some of the best and brightest of the nouvelle generation of musicians, including the most prolific at the hour: Nickenson Prud’homme. There is a lot of poetry in the song. One has the sense that deep thoughts were at play to create this smooth and sensual melody.
Misty Jean truly uses some sentimental words to write this song, for example Mwen pa ka tan lan nwit rive pou’m ka reve-w jan mwen vle (I can’t wait for nightfall to meet you once again in my dream) and Sa’k nan lespri’m se ke’m selman ki konnen-l (Only my mind knows what’s in my heart).
The song also illustrates how love can be a fantasy, un conte de fé, for it depicts how lovers sometimes prefer to lone their frantic sentiments so they could fantasize about loving and adoring their sweethearts the way they choose. But songs like this one underscore a serious symbiosis: Love and emotion can very well be expressed eloquently in Creole. It is fair to say that one can also classify artists like Misty Jean and others of the nouvelle generation as new ambassadors for the mother tongue. Their works have moved to erase the last vestige of doubts many had more than 20 years ago about Creole and its ability to express feelings of compassion and words of wisdom.
What began with Mano Charlemagne and others with their legendary folks and politically charged songs of the 1980s have turned into a nursery of dazzling bank for Creole music. This has also ushered a sea change in attitudes toward Konpa and the Caribbean Creolophone dilemma in general. Even other artists from the Antilles, who once thought Creole as a bastard language, have now fallen into line. It is a fact that the originality of Caribbean music genres can only be found in their Creolism.
The album’s title Li pa Two Ta is an inspirational Konpa song foregrounded in Misty Jean’s patriotism. Written by Misty Jean and arranged and produced by Jeff Wainwright, the song goes in-depth about the Motherland of Haiti, inciting fellow compatriots to close rank for it never too late to help Haiti and “as Haitians we need to ban together to protect our beautiful island nation.”
The album’s sixth track Tu Pleures gives one a Konpa jazz feel. Written by Marc Lubin and arranged by Jeff Wainwright with Roberto Martino playing the guitar, is a beautiful love song with a smooth jazz touch, and it can be played in both Konpa and jazz clubs.
The album’s ninth track Hommage a Ti-Manno is a song collage of the late and legendary singer Ti-Manno, famous for his original songs of Konpa Direct. This song truly takes you back to what old school Konpa really sounded, but it can still be enjoyable for Konpa lovers of all ages.
The album’s tenth track Tam Tam is a Latin remix from the original song Tam Tam, which was in the previous album. Written and arranged by Jeff Wainwright and Pete Masti, this song has a reggae-tone vibe that can be heard in Latin clubs around South America and the Caribbean. This song can easily compete in world beat. It really demonstrates Misty’s talent as an artist with great diversity and impeccable talent to crossover to other music genres.
Misty Jean does not have her niche solely within the Haitian communities, over the years she has made a lot of fans around the world, including Sub Saharan Africa. In an interview with Tele Sud last year, Ivory Coast popular singer, Teeyah, claimed that her idol is Misty Jean.
Li Pa two Ta is an album that truly demonstrates Misty Jean’s growth as an artist. It has a little bit of everything, from the bubble gum Konpa to the raw and the original style that Konpa listeners of all ages will love and enjoy.
Also see Harmonik’s Jere’m: album review
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