Barikad Crew: Remembering the Fallen Soldiers

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It was eight years ago today, in the early morning hours, the news started to circulate that three members and a couple of friends of the popular Haiti based Rap Kreyol group, Barikad Crew had gotten into a car accident and there were fatalities. The accident occurred on Route de L’aéroport while the group was on their way to perform for one of their biggest supporters; Radio Caraibe FM who was celebrating its 59th year anniversary. As the day matured, more information came in from several media outlets out of Haiti, they all confirmed the news, identified the victims and the cause of the accident.

The victims: Jean Walker Sénatus, aka Papa K-Tafalk, Johnny Emmanuel, aka DADE, Junior Badio aka Déja Voo, the group’s drummer Wilderson Maglorie aka Ti-Baté and a friend of the group who was driving the doomed vehicle, Guichard Labranche. All five victims were electrocuted and burnt beyond recognition when a high tension electrical wire struck their car after hitting what is thought to be a divider. A couple of days later Papa Katafal’s fiancée, Nathalia Léonida Bertrand who was said to have been pregnant at the time, committed suicide with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Nathalia Léonida Bertrand

Barikad Crew burst onto the Haitian Hip Hop/ Rap Kreyol scene back in 2002 after a group of friend; Bricks, Brital, DADE, Deja-Voo, Fantom, Izolan, Kondagana, Marco, Master Sun, Papa K-tafalk and Young Cliff, (the baby of the group) decided to collaborate and form a group where they can showcase their store telling and rhyming skills. Soon after they started to see a lot potential for success as a unit so they decided to take it more seriously and dubbed themselves Barikad Crew. The group chose the name Barikad Crew because of all of the barricades (obstacles) they felt that were placed in front of them as individual MCs. Unlike today, a solo rap artist wasn’t as successful back then and the group of young men realized that early on. Barikad Crew has helped elevate the fading Haitian Hip Hop/Rap Kreyol genre receive international acclaim and to this day the group is still considered one of the most popular and hottest Rap Kreyol groups.

 

In the end of 2007, the group released their debut album titled “Goumen pou sa’w Kwe” (Fight for what you believe). With tracks like Stand Up, Jwi Lavi, Sakrifis, O yeah, Se Konsa Lye, the title track and the mega radio hit Banm Afè’m , BC proved to the critics that popular music in Haiti didn’t necessarily have to come from established Konpa bands and that there is room for other genres to be successful in Haiti. By Carnival time the following year, they released a monster meringue called “Ti Fi Pile, Ti Gason Pyafe” and a superb video to suit; proving once more that they are not to be taken lightly.

On June 15, 2008, the unthinkable happened; sending the country and the music industry as a whole into shock and left them in mourning when the accident that took five lives of them the founder of the group, Papa K-tafalk. The government later gave the victims a national funeral and between 60,000 to 100,000 individuals descended on to the city to pay their respects. The support clearly highlighted the popularity of the group. Many artists recorded songs in a show of solidarity and support for the BC family. For the remaining members, the outpour of support gave them the strength to go on and continue with the work they were set out to do.


They later signed with Wyclef Jean’s Sak Pase records and went to work. The outcome: their second album titled Jisko Bou which was released in late 2008 and immediately sold thousand and thousand of units in Haiti alone. The CD contains songs like Ayiti pi Red, Jiskobou, Mete’l and Selebre. Though in their hearts they miss their fallen comrades, BC hasn’t skipped a beat and they continue to wow their fans and critics alike. In February 2009, they not only released the hottest carnival for the year but they also made their long-awaited debut in the US’s big Apple at SOBs Night Club in Manhattan.

Tragedy strikes over and over again

Tragedy struck again less than two years after the fatal accident took place, another member, Young Cliff, died in January 2010 in Haiti at his manager Youri Chevry’s house during the Earthquake that also claimed the life of his manager’s wife and hundreds of thousands of Haitian on the island.

On 17 February 2015, rapper Fantom was hit by a high-voltage power cord during the carnival defile causing panic in the crowd below which led to a stampede. 16 people died and more than 70 were injured. Many have expressed that if it wasn’t for the fatal accident that took the lives of the three members, BC would not be enjoying the level of success they are right now. Whatever the case may be, but with all the tragedies they’ve endured; BC still carrying the legacy.

 

It’s been nine years today since the first BC tragedy, but the fallen members have to be proud of their bandmates’ accomplishments so far and they must also be proud of the inspiration and courage they brought to not only their band but the whole Rap Kreyol movement they were fighting for as a whole. They’ve since worked with some of the hottest producers and artists in the American music industry and some of the members have also found time to pursue their own solo careers releasing singles, albums and participating on compilation CDs.

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97 Comments

  1. M pa ta ka pa gen respè pou 3 gran Jeneral sa yo ki te pèdi la vi yo sou chan de batay!

    RIP KataDadDeja!

    M sonje nou anpil psk si n te la tj, mouvman rap la pa t ap janm bese osi rapid konsa epi pa t ap gen gwo dezòd sa yo nan BPC.

  2. Nèg yo tèlman fè album solo, yo fè BC tounen yon group kanaval sèlman. Sa ki gen gro enpak sou mouvman rap la psk se enterè pèsonèl ki prime sou enterè kolektif!

  3. Men se lavi peson pa atann ak sikatris knsa pou Barikad men m si nap viv toujou atann ak tout bagay paske lavi a knpletman drol ou jan m knn ni ki le wap alez ni kilez wap malalez tlman via 100sans epi gnyn kote li plen e100sns 3hero sa yo nou nan ke m yn kout onè pou yo chapo ba pou nan m yo ke lespri nan m nou repoze anpè B.C for ever young

  4. Si 3viktim yo t la rap la tp pi bel li tp gen plis bras paske raper yo mouri two pov nan peyi…epi leta pa bay neg yo valeur…à dieu bc respect pou g-bobby bonflo…!

  5. eklate mlgre twa gran sayo pala bc rete gran mlgre res sa ki rete yo ret an so bc rete gran bc ap pnse sou k triyem album nan kise bc for life sanksyon maco a yap tann fin leve pou fen ane a e boum ng kp jere rap la c nan bc yoye outap ri bc sin tap tann

  6. Mesye sayo tap koumen pousa ye tekwè epi yo tonbe epi év yo realize mw koubem byen ba nan minit sa poum di yo menwa ret nan mitan rap kreol la bc for life.

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

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Neefah Song
Biography

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.

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Written by Cheyna Pierre

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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…’

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Yvon Andre

Yvon Andre

Percussions/Vocal

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.

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Tabou Combo

BIOGRAPHY

“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!

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Dat7

Biography

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.

Je-veux-M’envoler

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