Last night on my radio talk show BRIKOURI on RADYO KONTAK FM 87.9 or http://www.radyokontak.com broadcast out of New Jersey every Sunday night at 10, some of my callers were making the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard in my life.
They were arguing that GAZZMAN COULEUR of DISIP does not know how to sing. When I asked them when does someone know how to sing, they could not answer in a way to make sense to me.
I have been hearing for years this silly and despicable argument from many of our Konpa music fans; last night I decided to take a bold stand to challenge it.
If GAZZMAN did not know how to sing, do you really think a man as picky as MAESTRO ARLY would have kept him around for over a decade in NU LOOK? And with him in the lineup, that band had dominated our Konpa music for years. If he did not know how to sing, do you possibly think a man as demanding and selective as MAESTRO RICHIE of ZENGLEN would have had him sing the songs “Ou Se” and “Adrienne?” If he did not know how to sing, do you think SHEDLEY ABRAHAM, one of the best drummers and producers we have in our Konpa music, would have had him sing the hit song “Sexy Love” on his latest Djaz La album? Of course, that would have not happened.
While the American Music Industry is looking at how commercial and “hot” an artist is, we Haitians are stuck on making the silliest argument of whether or not that person can sing. As a matter of fact, let’s go to Jamaica and take the Dancehall artist Elephant Man, for instance. I guess if he were a Konpa artist, some of us Haitians would have seen him as someone who does not “know how to sing.” I am literally laughing out loud and shaking my head in disbelief.
When I asked these callers when does someone know how to sing to them, they said it is when the person can reach the high notes. Huh!!! I asked them what would be said of someone with a soprano or alto vocal tune trying to do base vocals and cannot? Would they see that person as someone who does not know how to sing? They were rumbling. And when I realized that they were wasting my time, I hanged up the phone and picked up the next callers.
Let’s take JACOB DESVARIEUX of the Martinique-based Zouk band KASSAV, for instance. KASSAV has become what we know of it today mainly because of his contributions with the uniqueness of his unusual vocal tune. If that man were a Konpa artist, these Haitians in their silliness would have told you with a straight face that he does not know how to sing. This is so ridiculous to say the least. I am not trying to put my people down, but some of us have been making some of the most insane, silly and ludicrous arguments. Seriously, we need to stop.
Let me close by saying this: some of the myths and misconceptions we have in our circles must be eradicated. That’s the only way we can progress as a nation. I understand you can choose not to be a fan of a specific artist, but you must respect the person’s natural abilities and aptitudes.
Everybody can sing so long as they have a voice. That is why there are vocal coaches in the business to work with them. Can you believe a man as great as MICHAEL JACKSON, one of the greatest entertainers to have lived our world, had vocal coaches constantly around working with him until the last day of his musical journey? I guess some of us Haitians would say that “knowing how to sing” entails not needing anyone to coach you on how to take and keep a vocal note.
Someone’s vocal tune can be more liked or admired than others, but that does not give that person leverage over the rest of them in the league. So please quit this silly argument of knowing and not knowing how to sing. It is all a myth you would probably find only in Konpa.