Settled in Belgium with wife and child, Obas, the gentleman troubadour, continues to sing Haiti with love and wisdom. If you factor in the compact Zanmi nou, recorded in 2015 between Mallorca and Montreal with Cornelia Schütt (TiCorn) and the famous poet Jean Claude Martineau (alias Koralen), it’s Beethova’s eighth studio album that you are just a click away from enjoying. Long matured over a slow fire (ten years already since Futur, a colourful and strangely optimistic work), Bon bagay tries to give back to his Haitian compatriots a bit of confidence, even pride, they who are often relegated to the bottom of the list – pouki yo pa prann pou anyen? Let’s be clear that the tone here is not at all miserable. Everything is bathed in a good dose of satirical and sarcastic humour, and a whole host of amusing imps gambol from one beach to another. By the way, it is recommended that you listen to these 11 songs in order rather than random mode. The masterful opening, in which the unrepentant left-handed player strums four chords on his guitar and lays his voice down with great calm, automatically brings to mind Manno Charlemagne, the mentor with whom he started out in the 1980s, in the western suburbs of Port-au-Prince. From then on, everything is a foregone conclusion. The composer confines himself to the crossroads of Haitian, Cuban, and Brazilian music – which he calls, with a smile, “Cubhabra” – and sprinkles it all with jazz. To that, add the presence of the Fanfant brothers (Jean-Philippe and Thierry, bass and drums), the metronomic superpros of konpa, David Fackeure’s delightful piano, Jimmy Jean-Félix’s crazy electric guitar on “Bio”, an adaptation of Gilberto Gil (“Dra”), and winks to the Caribbean Sextet, in particular to the late Boulot Valcourt, with whom Tov once made his first trip to Curacao as a troubadour. All from an accomplished artist, original and now essential. As the baker would say on television: Bon bagay! Good stuff in stock!
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