Unlike reggae and ska from Jamaica, or soca and calypso from Trinidad, the music of Haiti remains relatively unfamiliar to listeners abroad. Which isn’t to say that it’s lacking at all in depth of history or quality, in fact quite the opposite. Having included selections from Haiti on his Sofrito collections on Strut (and of course, possessing a deep knowledge of Caribbean music of the 60’s & 70’s), Hugo Mendez is the perfect selector to introduce the music of Haiti to listeners interested in investigating the country’s musical legacy.
Haiti Direct is one of the first internationally available in-depth explorations of the vibrant and varied colors of Haiti’s music from the early ’60s to the late ’70s. The collection celebrates the overlooked musical legacy of Haiti, going beyond Ra-ra and voodoo stereotypes to trace the development of a unique sound that echoed across the Caribbean. Listeners will find selections of classic material from the early days of groups such as Tabou Combo and Les Freres DÃ©jean as well as rarities from lesser known groups â€“ bringing together the sound of Compas with Latin workouts, psychedelic experiments and the Cuban influenced Twoubadou singers that continued to be a key part of the fabric of Haitian musical life.