This is not the same kind of Haitian dance music we’ve been featuring on La Pelanga recently, but something much quieter, much more reflective, but no less beautiful, at least to my ear. It’s hard to pick a favorite from this mesmerizing album, and unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out much about it. I did learn a bit about the record company. From 1970 to 1985 — this piece is from ’75 — Paredon Records of Brooklyn championed politically-charged recordings from all over the world, everything from Huey P. Newton speeches to Cuban folk music in the early Castro period. If you’re wondering why a Haitian folk song shares its title with Lenin’s famous political treatise (me too!) the original liner notes include English translations of the Creole, which are best understood in the context of the murderous Duvalier regime then in power. Given the politics of Paredon, with all their talk of solidarity, the lack of information about musicians is pretty unforgivable. Who plays and sings on these tracks? Does anyone know? Is the music just incidental to the political intent of the album?
Ki Sa Pou – N Fe? by Atis Independant
Ki Sa Pou Fe
Days are passing. Haiti is going backward.
Land is dring up. Children are dying of hunger.
There is injustice. The big ones swallow the small.
Haiti is our country. We have to say something!
You must fight fire with fire.
The future of the country depends on us.
No big neighbors will change things for us.
The country belongs to us.
We ourselves have to put it in order.
What is to be done? Revolution.
Everything will flow from that.
Who is going to make it? The people.
Who is the people? The workers.
Who else? The peasants.
Who else? All people of conscience.
Only a revolution will liberate us.
We will walk together with pride.
We won’t be ashamed to look at anyone!
I know no one pays for music anymore, but really, honestly this is album is absurdly beautiful. Paredon’s back catalogue is now part of Smithsonian Folkways, and you can buy a download here.
More importantly, if you want to donate further to Haiti’s recovery visit Stand With Haiti,
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