Mozayik | Haitian Creole Jazz

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Jazz: Latin Jazz World: World Fusion Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Haitian Creole Jazz

by Mozayik

Authentic, contemporary Afro-Haitian jazz by New York's premier Haitian jazz ensemble
Genre: Jazz: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Caravan
5:06 $0.99
2. Pen Mayi
6:41 $0.99
3. Sa Te Bel
5:43 $0.99
4. Mireille
5:25 $0.99
5. Sincerely Yours
4:48 $0.99
6. African Queen
6:21 $0.99
7. The Journey
7:38 $0.99
8. Limye
3:54 $0.99
9. Fifa's Theme
6:35 $0.99
10. Second Nature
6:23 $0.99
11. Havana Sunrise
4:01 $0.99
12. Moving On
6:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Mozayik was founded by a core of Haitian/American musicians in New York City in 2000. Their goal - exploring their Afro-Haitian roots while expressing their love of all types of jazz as well as gospel, funk, classical, and beyond. Many of the tunes on this recording feature traditional Afro-Haitian drum rhythms as a point of reference: Caravan (RaRa); Pen Mayi (Mayi); Sa Te Bel (Nago); Mireille (Ibo); African Queen (Kontradans); The Journey (Pètwo); Limyè (Kongo) and Moving On (Raboday). While compositions such as Fifa's Theme, Havana Sunrise and Second Nature may point towards Cuba and Brazil as additional sources of inspiration, Mozayik's highly original style clearly shows that Haiti has vast musical riches to offer. With a sound that is at once grounded in tradition and boldly moving forward, Mozayik has written a new chapter in Haitian music for the 21st century.

Juan Tizol's standard for the early Duke Ellingon Orchestra Caravan, in Mozayik guitarist Eddy Bourjolly's imaginative arrangement, evokes the sound of the "Rara", the vibrant annual street festival celebrated throughout Haiti during the six weeks between Lent and Easter. The traditional instruments used in the Rara include the tanbou (hand drum); kata (smaller drum played with two sticks); fè (metal hoe blade and striker) and tcha-tcha (gourd shaker). The signature sound of the Rara is created by wind instruments called banbou: a hollowed bamboo section with a mouthpiece at one end, and kòne (also called klewòn) - tin trumpets made from recycled metal containers.

In Pen Mayi, the Rada family of drums, consisting of Manman (lead or "mother"), Segon (middle or "second") and Boula (smallest or "baby"), are playing the Mayi rhythm. Rada is a term used in Haitian Vodou to signify Dahomey origins, and there are numerous Rada rhythms in the Haitian drumming repertoire. Mozayik's bassist, Gene Torres steps forward with a sizzling bass solo over Haitian percussion provided by percussionist Markus Schwartz. Mayi is also the Haitian Creole word for corn; pen mayi is a sweet cornbread dessert. Sa Te Bel ("It Was Beautiful") celebrates beautiful times spent in the lovely coastal town of Jacmel, Haiti - an artistic and cultural center known for its beautiful colonial architecture, picturesque beaches, and vibrant Carnival celebrations. It combines a 3/4 jazz waltz with the traditional Nago drum rhythm. ("Le mwen te Jacmel, jann sa te bel". When I was in Jacmel, how beautiful it was.")

Mireille is Mozayik's version of a traditional meringue melody, first made popular by the Haitian group Ibo Combo. Our rendition features the lively Ibo rhythm. The Ibo dance depicts the breaking of the chains of slavery. Sincerely Yours is an evocative letter to a loved one, as penned by Mozayik's pianist Welmyr Jean-Pierre, in the classical Haitian "Mereng-Dous" (soft/sweet Merengue) tradition. African Queen incorporates the Kontradans rhythm, a descendant from 18th century French country dances performed in colonial-era Haiti. The Kontradans has remained in the Haitian folkloric dance repetoire. Many Haitian rhythms such as the Kontradans migrated to Cuba, contributing to Cuban music forms such as Tumba Francesa, Contradanza and Danzon.

The fiery Pètwo rhythms in The Journey are a uniquely Haitian drumming style, although their connection to Kongo roots can be traced. The Pètwo drums have goatskin heads and are played with bare hands. Markus overdubbed a full percussion section consisting of three Pètwo drums, tcha-tcha and fè, with three low-pitched bàs (originally frame drums, possibly of Basque origins) providing the underlying melodies.

Limyè ("Light") was written & arranged by Mozayik's drummer Gashford Guillaume, and it features the wonderful voice and lyrics of one of Haiti's most talented singer/songwriters, Beethova Obas. Fifa's Theme, written by Eddy Bourjolly, is dedicated to his young daughter Fifa. Second Nature, in the words of its composer Gashford Guillaume, signifies "effortless achievement attained through the inspiration of a meditative state of mind." Havana Sunrise by Welmyr Jean-Pierre celebrates one of Mozayik's most rewarding experiences - traveling to Cuba to represent Haiti in the 2002 Havana Jazz Festival! Muchas Gracias to our new friend Chucho Valdès and to Jean Jean-Pierre for the introduction!

Moving On takes its inspiration from the Raboday, another traditional Haitian Carnival rhythm. According to its composer, Eddy Bourjolly, the song "expresses the quest for improvement, or a solution to predicaments that we all face. The final segment of the piece depicts a feeling of joy, as troubles are left behind and one is 'moving on' towards a positive path."

-Markus Schwartz



to write a review

Renes BBWI Lophanor

A pleasure to the ears
I am enjoying listening this album everywhere I am (car, home, malkman, etc...) It's perfectly produced and performed. I love the rhythms and wish I was on the one who came up with this idea of fusion. Well done guys and do some more. I will buy it. Mèsi anpil konpatriyòt mwen. Fè mizik peyi nou an konèt nan le mond.

Paul Meyer

Great sounds, beautiful to listen to, wish there were more....
My favorite Haitian band, love their music. Make some more and tour the west coast.