Lakou Mizik’s HaitiaNola
in stores today, 10/25

Back in July, TVD highlighted “Iko Kreyòl,” the first single from the Haitian band, Lakou Mizik’s new album, which was partially recorded in New Orleans. The full album is out today on Cumbancha. The record features numerous New Orleans musicians including Cyril Neville, Anders Osborne, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, and Jon Cleary.

Haiti and New Orleans are connected in myriad ways. After the 1791 slave revolt on the island then known as Santo Domingo, part of the vast diaspora immigrated to the Crescent City. The latest connection is represented by this great new album, which also features Régine Chassagne and Win Butler of the indie rock band, Arcade Fire.

Chassagne has Haitian roots, though the rock star couple currently lives in New Orleans. They helped develop the relationships between the local musicians and the Haitian ones. Chassagne and Butler have also started a carnival organization, Krewe du Kanaval, which celebrates the connections between Haiti and New Orleans and donates money to causes on the financially impoverished, yet cultural rich island nation.

There are numerous highlights on the album. Top on my list is Lakou Misik’s collaboration with Cyril Neville. Neville also has deep connections with Haiti going back to the 1980s. His song, “My Blood,” which is the opening track on the Neville Brothers’ groundbreaking 1989 album Yellow Moon, is about Haiti. He makes the connection explicit in the chorus, “That’s my blood down there.”

Tarriona “Tank” Ball of the great New Orleans band Tank and the Bangas represents on “Kay Grandpa.” She adds some strong English language spoken word to complement the song that is sung mostly in Haitian Creole.

“Lakou Dogwe” opens with a slow percussive groove before the melodic vocals come in complete with a rollicking call-and-response chorus. The intensity of the song just rises and rises before really hitting a peak when Anders Osborne adds one of his signature slinky, psychedelic guitar solos.

I have written about Lakou Mizik several times in the past including when they played at Jazz Fest. HaitiaNola is a culmination of sorts connecting the band to some of the best musicians in New Orleans and representing a new phase in the age-old relationship between two of the most musical places on the planet.

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