Throwback: Interview With Nickenson Prud’homme

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full (4)Originally posted on May 7, 2006

Already an establish keyboard player of the popular band, Zenglen, Nickenson Prud’homme decided to venture on a solo project to showcase another one of his many talents, his vocals. The artist admits he was a little skeptical at first about releasing an album featuring his own vocals not knowing whether or not people would embrace his voice.
He took his chances by releasing a single off Shedly Abraham’s Djazz La Vol. 5. The song entitled “Deception” since then, the reviews have been so overwhelming … he decided it was safe to release a whole album.

Cheyna: Nicky, I heard you have a new band coming out. What’s the name of your band?

 

Nickenson: The band name is Harmonic.

 

Cheyna: You’re a member of Zenglen, don’t you think that might create a conflict?

Nickenson: The new band consists of a group of friends of mine who played on the album with me. Harmonic is going to back me up when I have contracts outside of Zenglen. Some contracts are important and I have to fulfill them. As far as conflict is concerned, it will not affect me with Zenglen because I’ve been doing this before the album came out.  We’ve already played in Haiti. When Zenglen is not booked, I can use the time to go on tour and continue to promote the album.

 

Cheyna: How did you first get your start in the Haitian Music scene?

 

full (3)Nickenson: I started in Haitian music when I was a little boy at the age of 13. I understood music since I was 5. I could differentiate from minor to major keys from early on. I started creating musical melodies since then. At the age of 9, I started playing the keyboard. It was at the age of 13 I joined my first band, Explosive in Haiti. When I was 17 I joined Djakout Mizik. When I turned 19, I came to the United States and joined Zenglen and I’ve been with them ever since.

 

Cheyna: How long have you been in Zenglen.

 

Nickenson: I joined Zenglen when I was 19, I’m now 29 so I’ve been in Zenglen for 10 years.

 

Cheyna: You’re pretty young.

 

Nickenson: Thank you! I still respect and credit all of the musicians that are much older than me.

 

Cheyna: I credit you for being so young and yet managing to accomplish so much.

Where in Haiti are you from?

 

Nickenson: My mother is from St Louis du Nord and my father is from Cap Haitian but I was born in Port-au-Prince. When asked this question I usually say St. Louis du Nord because that’s where I was raised and still vacation.

 

Cheyna: Why did you decide to put out your own solo album?

 

Nickenson: I was scared at first because I didn’t know whether or not the fans would embrace my voice. I didn’t want them to laugh at my voice which made me a little reluctant. When Shedly persuaded me to release the song “Deception” on his album, I was surprise of the out come … how people loved it. However, I was still not set to release a solo because I didn’t know if it would work. A few friends like Marc Lubin (well known song writer to the artists in the HMI) and some others who are featured on the album finally convinced me and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue it. I feared releasing the whole album because I’m usually hard on myself even when I’m producing other artists. Chances are if it weren’t for the words of encouragement from these people, the album could have been done but never released. I also would like to thank Fabrice Rouzier and Jean Max for their encouragement.

 

Cheyna: Now that the album came out with rave reviews, did it give you enough confidence to pursue a second album?

 

Nickenson: For the way this album’s been running … my heart skips for the second album. Not that I can’t do it but some people think your first album is usually the best. For example some people said I couldn’t top “Deception” I told them I have a new album that would top Deception, they didn’t believe me. When they heard “Zanmi”, they had a change of mind. Well, I don’t know but we’ll leave it to God. I’ve always pray to God to give me the strength to do better with each project I take on, same way I got better at playing the keyboard.

 

Cheyna: Recently, I’ve spoken to a few other musicians about who they thought were the best keyboard players and who had the best keyboard solo and your name came up amongst the best. How do you feel about hearing that?

 

Nickenson: Oh, I would love to thank the musicians who said that. It’s encouraging and

a compliment. I didn’t know how they felt because there are others out there doing beautiful music.

 

Cheyna: A lot of times you are compared to Nu Look’s maestro/keyboard player/singer, Arly Lariviere. I remember a few months ago on OpaMizik.com message board we had a topic where some members were comparing the two of you. Would you compare yourself to Arly Lariviere?

 

Nickenson: To tell the truth, Nickenson and Arly are day and night. Arly is a composer and singer first. I never considered myself to be a singer. Arly has experience with some great musicians. He has his style and I have mine. I think my style is a more on the younger side than his.

 

Cheyna: Are you guys friends?

 

Nickenson: Well, don’t be surprise to hear Arly and Nickenson working on a project together.

We can’t have problems because were both working for compas so there’s no reason for us to have any problems. Same way Gracia and Richie just did a beautiful thing for the Haitian music industry where they put their differences aside to work together. I think it’s a good example for the young who’s coming up in the music. For Arly and Nickenson to create a project together, it would be a good thing in the industry.

 

Cheyna: In the past couple of months Zenglen’s been going through a few internal issues to where nobody in the band knew for sure where Richie stood. One of the reasons was Richie’s disagreement with the title for the live album. Do you think it was unfair since you also sing on the live album for it to say Richie and Zenglen?

 

Nickenson: I am oblivious of the details of what transpired due to the fact that I’m so busy in the studio. I never had the time but it’s when I was listening to interviews done over the radio that I really got an idea of what was going on. Honestly, I have no personal feelings towards Richie. I just thought it would be fair if it just said Zenglen because Zenglen played the music.

 

Cheyna: Now that Richie is back, are you guys in harmony?

 

Nickenson: We’re in HARMONIC menm!

 

Cheyna: Zenglen has always been verbal when it comes to the state of the compas music industry. But you personally, what do you think are some of the issues that the industry faces and what can be done to change those aspects an order to save the music.

 

Nickenson: For things to work better, we first have to fix the bootlegging problem. It’s hard for a musician when you’re working hard day and night in the studio, barely having any time left to spend with your wife and children because you want to produce a great project … only to have it bootlegged. Bootlegging is like getting your home invaded. That’s why musicians are dying poor. This problem can only be fixed if the people buying the bootlegs stop it. I’m not blaming the bootlegger, I’m blaming the supporters. If they stop supporting the sales of bootlegs, then these bootleggers will be forced to stop.

 

Cheyna: With all the solo projects Zenglen’s been releasing, when can we expect a Zenglen album?

 

Nickenson: We not only release solos, we release good solos. I’m always working for Zenglen. Zenglen is working. Right now the solo projects are working for us.

 

Cheyna: Who is responsible for Zenglen’s promotion and why haven’t the last few albums been properly promoted?


Nickenson: Well, I’m not responsible for Zenglen’s promotion. Kaliko, Richie and Brutus are the ones handling the promotional aspect of the band.


Cheyna: On a more personal side, I know you are married with a child, but can you tell us what do you look for in a woman?


Nickenson: I like simplicity. A woman who knows how to carry herself in public and who’s not loud. I’m not the type of guy who goes for looks first; I want a nice personality.


Cheyna: How does your wife feel about you being in the music business? I know some women have a hard time coping with a man in music because of the large number of women that cling to musicians.


Nickenson: My wife found me in music and she’s been very accepting of me and my career.


Cheyna: Thanks for the chat, Nick! And good luck on your future projects.


Nickenson: Thank you!

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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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