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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

While Konpa is making inroads, the Haitian music industry still has some work to do

By Gary Joseph

 CSMS Magazine Staff WriterMusic is defined as a universal language. Such definition can be interpreted in two aspects. First, it is essentially based on the lyric, which can make someone nod his head or dance as long as this lyric is relatively melodic. Sometimes, we dance or listen to music although we don’t understand it.            The second facet of this definition is very relevant to education, for it is what would be required to conquer other ethnic groups’ charms. This phase involves academic ability for one’s music to smash the international barriers such as playing professionally, being able to write music, and read music.It is not fair to say that all musicians should or will eventually be able to write music, but they must imply certain professionalism when it comes to reading and playing music. The reason is that one can easily notice the challenges that keep preventing our Haitian musicians from truly being successful in the music industry.In Haiti, there are three main genres of music, which many people admire a great deal. They are amply attractive and romantic. If one is curious enough about it, he should listen to some of it. Without a doubt, he will get hooked onto it a heartbeat.The three main genres are Konpa, Racine, and Troubadours. Haitian musicians have been playing Konpa for 51 years in an exclusive manner. It seems like those driving the Konpa do not want others to play it because there are no schools of music in Haiti where youngsters can learn this music. For sure, they have all sort of exotic music, which they are teaching the fellow Haitians. The other two styles, which have probably been playing for over two thousand years are not exceptions.            It would be a good idea for Haitian artists (like Farah Juste above in the picture) and Haiti’s Ministry of Culture to sit down to figure out the best way to give the Haitian music some constructive meanings. For example, the music can be archived for future generations in order to insure its authenticity and longevity. This would guarantee educational training for musicians so that they can read a partition. It is not a surprise that the lyrics of the former Haitian musicians as well as contemporary ones are not being archived, so they simply vanish like lightning after a thunderstorm. Having said, however, there are some prestigious Haitian orchestras that keep archives for future generations.             In addition to all the hardships that the Haitian music faces, the amateurism leads musicians to unsecured avenues. With all the international recognition the Konpa is now enjoying, it is fair to say that the time is right to make the giant leap from amateurism to professionalism, if Haitian musicians and their genres of music forthrightly want to be respected and valued. In order to move forward, these drawbacks must be acknowledged.       Also see Jude Jean: the forgotten prince of the nouvelle generation Kenedy: La nouvelle princesse of zoukMilca: New Haitian diva crowned in Paris while Konpa is breaking new groundsDwindling record sales forces Zouk producers to call Konpa to the rescueZouk music producers have turned into Kompa to boost record sales

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