K-Zino the Double Header Interview.

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Since the release of their new album, Transition, K-Zino has been stirring up quite a buzz in the industry among the younger generation of music lovers. OpaMusic.com decided to have a double-header interview with the duo to learn a little more about them and to give our viewers some insight.

You two seems to be very close how did you two meet? 

Gerald: Hi everyone on OpaMusic.com, my name is Gerald K-Zino AKA @Vidipblip On Twitter Instagram and Facebook.com. Well, I met Maestro Ricky playing music and during that time we decided to form K-Zino together after realizing how much we get along. We’re two very disciplined individuals, we’re not far apart in education and share the same vision and objective in our business. We evolve in our work and In terms of production as well. K-Zino has brought us closer together we’re like brothers.

Prior to forming K-Zino were you guys apart of any other band? 

Gerald: I’ve never been a part of any band or project before, as a matter of fact, a lot of people call me Gerald K-Zino because they identify me with the band.

Maestro Ricky: My very 1st band was a high school band called Xcess. Among the key members were Jude Deslouches (current Vayb guitar player) and Roody Delpé (Karizma, Cruz La). We parted ways as some moved abroad to college. A couple of years later I joined Toxic when 2 of the guys I grew up with invited me.  During this period I wrote and produced some key songs such as “Histoire Cachée”, and “Deja Kondane”. After the earthquake the band had some issues preventing it to move forward. That’s when I moved on and Join forces with Gerald to make it big with K-Zino

Why the name K-Zino? 

Gerald: K-Zino because first of all it has three syllables, easy to say and it’s a name that you can practically say in three different languages… English, French, and Creole. Ours is spelled differently from the regular casino and the “K” in K-Zino stand for Konpa. Our motto is once you come to K-Zino you can’t lose. Men will find good music and beautiful women and vice versa.

In the realm of new and upcoming bands, one thing that’s proven to be factual is lack of consistency. Where do you guys see yourselves in 5 years?

Gerald: In 5 years I guess we’ll probably be the top band in the HMI or one of the top bands but most likely the top band. (lol) We work very hard for that and I think we have the potential to be on top. Our product is good, we play well and our live performances are good and we never stop working. So I definitely see myself and the team on top in five years.

Maestro Ricky: If you want to make it Big in this business, 5 years is relatively a short period of time. It’s a game of patience and perseverance, of strategy and consistency. So, being aware of that, I m confident I’m in for the long run and will be a key actor in the business for the next 15 or 20 years at least.

I know that everybody that was in Haiti during the earthquake back in 2010 suffered greatly one way or another. You suffered physically, have you sought any type of mental health services to help you cope with the traumatic experience?

Gerald: For those that didn’t know I spend a lot of time under the Rubbles after the earthquake on January 12th in Haiti. After I was pulled out I had to undergo several surgeries and God allowed me to keep my legs. Now it’s the past and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Today I value life more and there are things I give more importance and some less as well. What can I say, music is the biggest therapy, it’s the biggest thing in my life. I did not seek any mental health treatments because I feel I’m blessed. I’m still alive I’m doing well and music is my therapy that’s it.

Tell us a little about the new album. What was the inspiration behind it?

Gerald: The new album Transition is available everywhere from iTunes, Amazon Google Play, CD Baby you name it, it’s there. The inspiration behind the new album… Well, we wanted to bring our own sound so once you heard it you knew it was K-Zino and as you can see we don’t sound like anyone else. We wanted a young, fresh and solid sound. So we implemented a melange of sounds like afro, electro, and Konpa and we don’t play around with our lyrics as well they have to be good. We wanted everyone to get something out of it. K-Zino is a “Plong Gaye” tout moun jwen… No matter your age.

Who worked on the album? 

Maestro Ricky: Besides Gerald and myself who drew the blueprints of the album by choosing the subjects, the main flavors, the sound and the direction we wanted, some key figures added their touch: the live drums were performed by Shedly and Marvens, some percussion programming was done by Roody Delpe. 5Lan co-arranged the song he featured in. Ti Pick and Ti Bass played the guitar and bass. After some sound pre-touch by Carl Fred Behrmann, Reynaldo Martino took care of the final Mixing and Mastering.

Are any of the songs based on personal experiences and if yes, which ones?

Maestro Ricky: None of them is based on my real personal experience, but I always try the most possible to portray situations happening right around me and in the society I live in, for example,  I know personal friends who have been through the “M Kole” experience. The ” M Ale” subject is currently a real matter in Haiti.

What’s your favorite song on the album and why? 

Gerald: This is the hardest question because each song has a story behind it. I like M Kole, Santiman Pa Dyaman, Fe saw vle ave m, Map Bay W La. and Defi. Every text, every Melody has something personal in it, i just love the whole album.

Maestro Ricky: It’s hard to pull out a single favorite. But it would be certainly between these 4 : Fe saw vle ave m, Santiman Pa Dyaman, M Kole and Super Hero. These 4 have a special vibe to me. But yet again, difficult to single out one.

On the album, you guys said something and I quote “Nou pwal nan K-Zino, djazz ki bay nou vibe la. djazz ki fe nou rele woy woy, nou pwal kraze kay la… Is that a direct jab at VAYB and Kai.

Maestro Ricky: Haha. I ‘d be glad if it was the case. But no. It was a pure coincidence. These quotes were written before Vayb even revealed its name, and “pral kraze kay la” is a quote from our previous song “Ke Mwen Kontan” released a couple of years ago.

Are those the two bands (Kai & VAYB) in the industry if you had to go into a healthy competition you would choose and why? 

Gerald: If you ask me I’d say both because both of them are evolving in the same industry as us. Once you’re in the industry you are in competition.

 Maestro Ricky: Simply by existing, we’re in a healthy competition with every single band in the business. You always have to be on top of your game. Now, it’s difficult to single out one of these bands. It all will be a matter of circumstances, strategy, demography, and even geography. We’ll see what happens.

The upcoming bands have the tendency of referring to themselves as djaz la releve la. Do you guys think that the older bands should retire already to allow the younger bands to carry the torch? 

Gerald: I don’t think they have to retire at some point there is another generation that’s emerging and they will choose who they want to follow perhaps we’re the most the closest one to their generation. I think T Vice did their job and all the other bands that were there prior. Magnum band Klass, Carimi now is it time for the current generation to take responsibility and do what they got to do. there’s a change that’s starting to take place you can see there’s a lot of young artists that are producing good products and they have a young following. I think everyone has their place in the business to be honest.

 Maestro Ricky: This will happen naturally. People are always hungry for novelty. The growing audience will shift to bands and artists they feel they can relate to, both the image and the productions. It is up to us, upcoming bands and artists, not to disappoint them.

Are any of you guys married or have kids?

Gerald: Nope. I’m not married and I don’t have any kids… Life is beautiful… hahaha.

Maestro Ricky: Nope. Still on the market lol

I’ve seen you promote an ELBOW Support Brace what is that about?

Gerald: At first, it was for medical purposes and after awhile it just became my trademark and you can see that it even says Vidipblip on it. A lot of people have asked me the question you’re not the only one who’s noticed and some have even suggested that I make a business out of it but I don’t know we’ll see in the future. lol

Since you’re based in Haiti, what would you like to tell your US fans that just started to discover you?

Gerald: It’s just the beginning we’re not going to stop producing, we’re not going to stop working. We have a great team with us in the US name Entourage, big up to Vlad and we’re going to continue to tour the US. We’re going to continue producing great music so guys stay tuned this is just the beginning. K-Zino  djaz la releve la, the leader, Djazz bon bagay la, djazz Transition nan!

Maestro Ricky: First, I’d like to thank them for the instant positive feedbacks. Second, I ‘d like to tell them that they will see us very often, thanks to the teams behind us such as Entourage and BMG, to name just these 2. And lastly, they will enjoy more and more of our releases as much they enjoy the Transition album. For those who haven’t purchased it yet, I encourage them to do so as its available on every online music platform.

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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

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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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