Album Review: Klass Fè’l Vini Avan

Fè’l Vini Avan
FAILRubbishSubparMediocreEnjoyableQuite GoodSuperb!
[ 3 votes, score: 6.33 ]

Yo Towing Ou | 6m22s | 116 BPM

A song intro is supposed to build anticipation, but these first fifty seconds–with dog snarl, Pipo and Richie yapping, laughing, screaming anmwéé, Auto-Tune galore–serve as reminder for why I turn my nose up to today’s bands. I’ve found that such shenanigans don’t usually lead to good or even interesting songs. This opening track doesn’t do much to help disprove that theory. If Richie wants to hear an effective intro, I recommend Tabou Combo’s Aki Yoko, which also illustrates how to double synth and guitar. Are they really singing “Men Pozo?”. Oh dear!


You Don’t Want Me | 5m57s | 86 BPM

I like the synth pad in the beginning; I wish it played a more prominent role and not be so buried when it did get used. Lyrics are the typical love-soap-opera tale [Arly-esque]. Ladies who are fans of this schmaltzy style will definitely sing along, but there’s no killer hook that’ll stick in their heads. My interest took a leave of absence right around 3m00s; the remaining 2m57s are filled with haughty keyboard playing and more rambling vocals from Pipo.


Fè’l Vini Avan | 5m26s | 100 BPM

As I listened, I couldn’t help but wonder how many spoiled regions I’d need to cut out of this animal before it’s fit for human consumption. Some of the suggestive lyrics, cut; tons of digital synth presets, cut; female vocals that sound as if coming from hired “lady entertainers” at a bachelor party, cut; hideous keyboard solos, large deep cut. Pipo’s singing does not require a cut, but I honestly will not miss it if it’s not there. You know, at this point, I risk slicing my pinkie off if I continue cutting; there’s no meat left on this carcase.


Pitit Deyò | 6m00s | 86 BPM

Vocals: Richie
In the role of illegitimate child, Richie does a fair amount of preaching and whinging. By the end of verse two, I’d had more than my fair share of his sob story and had already heard all I needed to hear as far as the music is concerned. “Papa’m vlé supòté’m / Men madanm li opozé / ay no way / Paske m’sé pitit deyò.” Anything beyond that might as well be sound from a coffee grinder; it’s best tuning it out. This song is Exhibit A for why I believe the synthesizer is one of the worst things to ever happen to Konpa. My Goodness!


Priyorite | 5m46s | 98 BPM

Badly written lyrics about getting our priorities straight “pou Haïti ka chanjé”. I’m surprised we didn’t get the good ol’ “Maché main dans la main” in there. The horns would have lifted this average track if only they were arranged by someone who knows good Konpa horns. These nu-producers definitely need a consultant in that department. Someone with the Dejean last name, perhaps? These guys think keyboard solos are pistach griyé tou kalé; they just can’t keep their hands off. If I’m in the Mr. Producer’s chair, I’m cutting most of it to make room for a bigger trumpet presence. Fading things out with a fifteen second trumpet part is a strange decision.


Mizik Sa | 5m01s | 88 BPM

I got a good chuckle when I heard the sound effect in the beginning; a certain Mega Hit immediately came to mind. Here’s an example of unnecessarily wordy lyrics. “Olyé n’plédé di n’a gen tan pou exprimé lanmou / Pito n’profité chak moman lavi a ofri nou / Sé konsèy sa’a m’ta ba nou.” A smarter version could simply say, “Pa di n’a gen tan pou exprimé lanmou / Profité chak moman lavi a ofri nou.” There’s no need for that “konsèy” phrase at all. Okay, what do I hear in this arrangement? Pipo sings, horrible keyboard solo…Pipo sings some more, more insufferable siwèl…Lather, rinse, repeat…. Someone should also tell the man that “Héhéy” is already taken by Gazzman.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Nou Se Ayisyen | 5m25s | 120 BPM” dl=”0″]

Disregarding the trite lyrics, I do find a few pleasantries in here. The absence of a keyboard solo is very much appreciated. Introduction of the clavinet pattern [0m48s] is a nice surprise; it’s not at the level ofStevie Wonder’s Superstition, but hey, I don’t want to be too greedy. Again, the parts played by the brass section are decent, but the ensemble just doesn’t sound quite right; the sax solo is not too shabby. For a change, El Pozo did something interesting with his guitar. With some polishing, this track would easily be a favourite. Kisa ki ayisyen an anyway?


Enmène-Moi | 5m37s | 86 BPM

Word has it that Pipo bolted from Nu Look because Arly wouldn’t include this French piece on their last record. The Kréyol refrain “Kore’m la / Chéri pa déplasé / Doudou m’vle ou tchenbé’m fò / Chéri mwen”is fantastic, shower-singing worthy. But of course, don’t expect it to stick around for long because we must always follow the multi-refrain Konpa template. The French “Emmène-moi / Ne me deçois pas” is not bad, but doesn’t register as strongly. Guitar solo is begging to stay in the spotlight, but nope, we need to be treated to more horrific keyboards. A slight deviation from the norm could have turned a good song into something really special. Why can’t Pipo shut up when he’s not required to sing?


Move Siyal | 5m44s | 92 BPM

Vocals: Richie
This number has it all: police sirens, Kréyol rhymes with a bit of English, a bit of Auto-Tune effect on Richie’s voice, a bit of rap, and lots of that 1980s orchestra hit sample. I collected marbles when I was a small boy; Richie has spent his adulthood amassing wealth in musical clichés. I do admire his attempt at bringing a differently flavoured Konpa on this track, but his reliance on son lari guitar and siwel is a letdown. If I’m listening to this in a crowded club, I’ll probably join in on the infectious “Ou ban’m mové siyal” hook [love that female “Ooh”]. In quieter settings, however, it’s too chaotic and has very little to latch on to in the details area.


Bootleg | 5m04s | 138 BPM

Vocals: Richie
The 2013 kanaval was held in Richie’s hometown, yes? I reckon this méringue carnavalesque was whipped up for a Cap-Haitien Chérie return that never was. I didn’t care for kanaval as a boy [probably due to mychaloskaphobia]and still despise these wretched songs as an adult.


Bagay 9 (Remix) | 5m42s | 116 BPM

Whether it’s the old version with Ballywood [or is it Hollywood? Haliwoud?]on vocals or this “remix” with Pipo, this is vapid music at its crappiest. Such a waste of recording studio time! I commend folks who manage to enjoy this rubbish. Actually, what I’d really like to do is beat better taste into them, but I’m trying to be a much kinder and gentler human being. [Pis may bròdè!]

:: Caught Up Again In A Habit ::

What’s with the mostly all-female background vocals on these so-called full bands lately? Have Haitian producers given up on trying to get male backing vocals to sound right? Why does Klass choke their mixes with so many badly EQ-ed instrument parts? Did these guys just discover synthesizers? Enposib! Why must these Klass clowns yell out “K-l-a-s-s” or “Klass, it is, baby / Yes, it is, baby” on every song? Une vraie stupidité!

Richie’s fellow Capois, and fans who think Pipo is a better vocalist than Kino or Gazzman will no doubt get their fill of “Fè’l Vini Avan”. But for me, there is nothing on this wreckage that would make me want to listen to it again. Not the singing; not the writing; not the instrumentation; not the musicianship; not its sound. Nothing! As with other mediocre albums, there are a couple of bright moments, but even those tunes are not smooth sailing. I wish I could find one moment of brilliance on this record to brag about. Even fanatik who claim to “have it on repeat” will soon forget it when the next record from some other overhyped band is released. I recently read an article by a foreign journalist in which Konpa was described as “party music” [i.e. shallow, unsophisticated]. Yeah, I was less than amused at the time, but this Klass debut has really forced me to reexamine that definition.

:: Credits ::

Jean H. Richard [Richie]: Band Leader, Drums, Percussion, Lead Vocal, Rap [oh goodie!] Edersse Stanis [Pipo]: Lead Vocal
Nixon Mésidor [Nicky]: Bass
Louixène R. Floristal [El Pozo]: Lead Guitar
Wid Pierre [Cheveu]: Percussions
Kevin Gaippe [Bel Kod]: Guitar
Sorel Sanon [Soso Brezo]: Congas, Percussion
Rossely Paul [T-Wes]: Keyboards [cool your heels, son!]

More Credits [done typing!]



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Rutshelle Guillaume

Biography of Rutshelle Guillaume …
Born in Port-au-Prince on July 28, a family of three children, Rutshelle GUILLAUME is the only daughter of her Father. At the age of five, she began to sing at the church of God of Boulard directed by Pastor Louis DESTINVAL. His passion for music takes him to 19 years, in the group “REL”, a musical formation composed for the most part of young musicians of the National School of … Arts (ENARTS). She was able to meet her husband, Walner O. Registre (Doc wor) band leader of the group Rèl, father of her beloved daughter (Ruth-Warly O. Registre). Rutshelle is one of the most listening and charming women’s voices on the air today. Her opus “KITE M KRIYE” is asked and asked again in the shows to which she is invited to produce. This song, according to her, comes out of the particular to reach the social. Rutshelle, Philosopher of formation, joined the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of the State University of Haiti (U.E.H) in 2008. After completing her studies, she is currently completing her research in order to obtain her degree in philosophy. – Former Professor of Grammar and Philosophy at New Bird College. Rutshelle Guillaume currently works as: Protocol Officer attached to the Kiosk of the Ministry of Haitians Living Abroad (MHAVE) at TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE International Airport. – During a training on vocal techniques organized by James Germain, Emmeline Michel and Stevenson Théodore at the Fokal in 2011, his performance on stage enabled him to surprise Yole DEROSE, in search of young female talents for his project “Haiti Heart of Women “. She chose to be part of her project. While awaiting the release of her album, she presents to the public the opportunity to discover it in her song titled “KITEM KRIYE” which is video-clip. In addition, Rutshelle had already participated on numerous projects with several artists and musical groups, such as: – Roosevelt SAILLANT, known as BIC Tizon dife: “Mesi ti cheri doudou” a song from his latest album entitled “Kreyòl sings Kreyòl Konpran” . Doc Filah: “Trèv pou amoni”, a song from his album “Akrilik sou twal rezon” – Eunide Edouarin dit (Eud) and Aristor Oberson says (Dad Crazy): “Fòk mwen fete”, a song of their album “Limyè wouj” – Jean Bernard Félicien dit (Hurricane) and Valkency Décembre dit (K-lib): “yon lide”, a song from their album “Knock Out” – Barikad crew , konplèks, bafon plafon “, songs from the album” RED “. To name but a few



Neefah Song

Prior to launching her musical career, Neefah got her start by auditioning for the Brooklyn High School of the Arts; a specialized arts school where she majored in vocal music. In addition, she took Music Theory for she believes reading and writing music should be a very important factor in any musicians training.

Neefah excelled in the program and later attended the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Musical Theater. She also graduated from the Barbizon School of Modeling the same year. Upon both graduations, Neefah began pursuing music full-time.

Stephanie “Neefah” Fontus was born on February 21st in Brooklyn, NY to a Haitian mother and a Haitian and Bahamian father. Her father, a professional bassist didn’t give her much support or encouragement when it came to music and her mother supported his decision because they didn’t want their daughter to make a career in music instead they encouraged her to complete her studies and have a normal and stable life and career. Neefah heeded her parents’ advice however it was in school where she actually found the drive and necessary encouragement that she needed and it came from her music teacher. Through her teaching and mentoring, Neefah finally felt secure enough to pursue her dream in entertainment.

Neefah went on to perform at some very prestigious events and places such as the United Nations, FAME on 42nd Street (Broadway Musical), VH1 Hop Hop Honors where she opened the show, she sang the national anthem at the Yankees’ stadium for the Mets twice to name a few.

With her career looking bright Neefah still felt the need to please her parents and obtain a degree in criminal justice but her heart still remains in music.

Neefah’s musical training and experience may be outside of the Haitian Music Industry’s (HMI) realm, she is no novice to the industry. Neefah’s collaborations include Dola Mizik, Clinton Benoit, Madman JP and Charlot Maitre on lead vocals.

Neefah’s new single entitled “Nobody but you” is officially released and Neefah is currently in the studio adding the finishing touches to her album slated for a Summer release.

Written by Cheyna Pierre



Yves Joseph

Yves Joseph

Background vocal

A Native of Petion-Ville, Yves Joseph, better known as Fanfan, is one of the original members of the band. Fanfan started with the band in 1968 playing the congas. In the 80’s, he moved to the front as an additional vocalist in support of Shoubou. The two have formed an impressive singing duo for the last 45 years. Fanfan is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and versatile members of Tabou Combo. Apart from being the band background vocalist, he’s also the band’s manager and main songwriter. Fanfan is a graduate (Cum Laude) from City College with a major in International Relations and a minor in Education. In the Summer of 2000, Fanfan became the first Haitian artist to land an endorsement deal with a major U.S. company when he signed with LATIN PERCUSSION (LP). Fanfan said his most positive experience with Tabou Combo was when the hit single NEW YORK CITY was released. ‘It is a good feeling to hear your songs everywhere you go in Europe, in jukeboxes, major radio stations, and Clubs,’ said Fanfan. ‘The attention you get, the pampering and the fame is unbelievable…’



Yvon Andre

Yvon Andre


It was in 1968 when then fifteen year old percussionist Yvon Andre, known to all as Kapi, became a member of Tabou Combo. Back then the young musician had to sneak out of his family’s home in Petion-Ville to play with the band due to the fact that his parents were determined not to let their son become a musician. However, his love for music was too strong to be stopped. Kapi said he could have become anything, but he chose to be a musician because he loves music. It is that love that has motivated him to stay with Tabou Combo for so many years. Kapi is not just a mere percussionist; he’s also a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. Kapi has penned many of Tabou’s hit songs. He has also written most of the band’s Spanish songs including FIESTA and PANAMA QUERIDA. The latter he co-wrote with Fanfan. Kapi said his most memorable moments as a member of Tabou was in 1998 when he traveled to the Ivory Coast to receive a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Tabou Combo, and again when RFO (French radio/television) honored Tabou Combo in Martinique; those, he said, were historical moments.



Tabou Combo


“Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo,” says Tabou Combo’s co-founder and ex-drummer Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music, Konpa (con-pah), has propelled the country’s preeminent dance band around the world. The 12 members of the band have covered many territories since leaving Haiti and relocating to New York City in 1971. By that time, Tabou had already established itself as Haiti’s number one group, and as the “Ambassadors of Konpa.” Tabou Combo now has worldwide fans and followers from London to Paris, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, South America, throughout the Caribbean and in North America.

It is easy to understand why Tabou Combo’s relentless and high-energy style of Compas dance beat knows no language barrier. Singing in English, Spanish, French or their native Creole, Tabou serves a hot mix of grooves and textures with roots from around the world. You will hear a strong dose of the Dominican Republic’s national dance music, meringue. In addition, there is Haiti’s dance-till-you-drop carnival music, rara, the hypnotic drums of Haitian voodoo rituals. Add to that quadrilles and contra-dances from Haiti’s French colonizers and funk from the American soul era to James Brown for good measure. The mixture of all these influences makes for a serious bass line that brings new meaning to the word bottom; layer upon layer of accents courtesy of drums, percussion and congas; the constant intertwining of two guitars with the feel of West African Soukous topped with bright piano riff and the brassy sound of a 3-man horn section.

Tabou Combo got started in 1968 in Petion-Ville, a town just outside Port-au-Prince, by Albert Chancy and Herman Nau and some friends, all in their teens. They began by naming themselves “Los Incognitos” because they were unknown at that time. They changed to Tabou Combo in 1969, in order to bear a name closer to the Haitian culture. That year, the band won first prize in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation in Haiti, and by 1970 it was one of the island’s leading bands. Then the Chancy’s parents stepped in, and Albert, the band’s guitarist, and original, leader was sent to college in Montreal and gave up music. The band dissolved and its members drifted to the United States. Early in 1971, however, an unexpected meeting led to a Tabou reunion with rhythm guitarist Jean-Claude Jean as the leader and the band has been together, with a few changes, ever since.

Employing the repetition and breaks of Afro-American gospel music, TABOU COMBO entices the listener to become listener and dancer. Almost four decades after TABOU COMBO’s establishment, the band has audiences dancing everywhere from concert halls to the streets and in nightclubs around the world. Says Fanfan, the band’s background vocalist and main songwriter, “We want people to dance and forget their sorrows.”

There is no doubt, the music is made for dancing, but Tabou also features lyrics that focus on social issues of the day. For example, the lyrics from the title cut of the group’s 1991 release ZAP ZAP deal with uplifting the image of Haitian people in the wake of bad press connected to the AIDS epidemic.

It was 1974 when the band captured Europe’s attention with its million-selling hit single NEW YORK CITY. Tabou steadily has been building its international followers ever since. The 1989 release, AUX ANTILLES (The Antilles), topped European and Caribbean charts for six consecutive weeks. AUX ANTILLES also won Best Album for Haitian Dance Music at the 1991 1st Annual Caribbean Music Awards at New York City’s famed Apollo Theater. Tabou’s release, KITEM FE ZAFEM (Let Me Do My Things), was voted among Beat Magazine’s Best of 1988. In 1989, KITEM FE ZAFEM, along with ZAP ZAP were used by the film director Jonathan Demme in his movie MYSTERY DATE. The song JUICY LUCY was chosen by French movie maker Maurice Pialat for his movie POLICE (1985). In 2002, world known guitarist Carlos Santana recorded the song MABOUYA (Foo Foo) on his album SHAMAN.

After traveling around the world with Tabou, Fanfan says he has found that people everywhere are all the same and they all love music. TABOU COMBO seduces the people with rhythm that does not let go. Konpa’s unrelenting dance beat is contagious and there are plenty of witnesses. Many of the thousands of TABOU COMBO fans around the world eagerly will testify… that is if they can stop dancing long enough to talk!





Based out of Hollywood, Florida, Dat7 is a Haitian band with a style deeply rooted in the finest tradition of Compas Direct with Zouk and R&B influences. Dat7 came into existence in late 2014 when former bandmates and longtime friends, Ricot Amazan (conga drums), and Eddy Viau (percussionist), join forces and created the band. They were later joined by Vladimir Alexis (drums), and Olivier Duret (vocalist), to complete the ensemble. Dat7 has created quite a stir since releasing their debut album VERDICT in October of 2015. Having been awarded the “Revelation de L’année 2015” award and the Haitian Academy Award in 2017, Dat7 continues to position itself as one of the most notable new bands, especially for their superb live performances.




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