Kreyolicious Music…in which—in which I review an album by a Haitian band or artist. Today’s album? Disip Klere Yo. This twelve-track opus is as confessional as albums come. Think Marvin Gaye during his What’s Going On? era; think Usher during Confessions, and Janet during The Velvet Rope years, and you’ll have an idea of the intensity of Klere Yo. Even when the singer is remaking a track (as he does with the song “Heartbreak and Misery”, a re-up of “Jealous” from British crooner Labrinth’s album Take Me to the Truth) he makes it his own, and gives it his own splendid spin and touch.
The track “It Doesn’t Matter” touches on the futility of life. The narrator comes to the same conclusion that Solomon came arrived at many centuries ago: nothing matters, and we take nothing with us. When the curtains is drawn, and when the curtain is down, he sings, then what? Does anything matter? This song features a female vocalist by the name of Jessye Belleval. Interesting vocals. And can I mention that the harmonies on this track are tops?
So, like, yeah…this Klere Yo joint is on the highest level of confessional albums. The Disip lead singer (whose name interestingly enough is Gazzman Couleur) bring musical gasoline and color with this dozen song collection. His velvety voice is the star of the show, and the high-caliber lyrics are viable co-stars.
The gas gets super-intense, super unleaded and premium with some ethanol on the impassioned “Lanmou Pi Fò” [Love Is Stronger]. This song should have been the one to carry the title “Heartbreak and Misery”, as it outlines the disintegration of a relationship. They grew together, he sings, but guess at one point, one outgrew the other.
Disip keeps impressing. When you listen to “It Doesn’t Matter”, you think: “Okay, this is going to be the best track on this record.” Then you get hit with “Lanmou Pi Fò”, and while you’re recovering from the sheer passion on that song, you get assaulted with “J’ai Brulé Les Étapes” (I Done Climbed Them Ladder). Nowhere on the album are lyrics stronger than on this ballad. How can I explain the vibe of “J’ai Brulé Les Étapes”? It’s like the singer (or the songwriter behind the song) had a hidden recording device in one of those confessional booths at those Catholic churches, and recorded the confession of a churchgoer, and this song was the result. Every line from this ballad sounds like a personal disclosure.
Sou recho lamizè m’konn wè manman’m k’ap kwit pwoblèm
Met nan asyèt lespwa pou’l pa dekouraje avè’m
Lè’m panse’m fè mil pa, difikilte kouri dèyè’m
Moun ki la pou ta ban’m le bras, souvan se yo’k bloke baryè’m
On a misery stove/My mama cooked up problems
She laid them on hope’s dishes so she won’t get fed up with me
Just when I think I’ve jumped a thousand hurdles, out comes all kinds of obstacles
Those who were supposed to be around to give me comfort are the ones who stand blocking my path
In subsequent verses, the narrator speaks of his father’s premature death, having a brother go through deportation proceedings, a mother’s death, and all sorts of personal setbacks. But his soul would not allow him to get defeated and miss out on his personal triumphs.
“J’ai Brulé Les Étapes” is for everyone who’s suffered dark moments in their lives, but through sheer willpower, faith and courage made it through.
Dèfwa lavi pa ban’m bonjan, mwen menm mwen chwazi griyen dan’m
E lè’l wè kè’m toujou kontan, li vin sou mwen an souriyan
Sometimes life treats me, oh so bad, but I choose to show my grill
And when it sees I’m all happy, it gets all jolly on me too
When you put songs like “San Manti”, “Lanmou Pi Fò”, “J’ai Brulé Les Étapes”, and “It Doesn’t Matter” side by side with songs like “Limena” and “Pa Poze’m Kesyon” (Don’t Ask Me Nothing), it feels like you put a gorgeous candle alongside petty fireworks. “Limena” and “Pa Poze’m Kesyon” just don’t have the depth of those songs. But I guess the artist and his band felt the need to insert some merriment for his fans should they feel that this album had too serious of a tone.
So “Cette fois-ci” (This Time Around) is a salute to a ride-to-die chick who’s at last being appreciated by her self-centered and thankless man. He’s long taken her for granted, he contends throughout the first two verses of the track, but the emotional tide is turning. This song tries to be profound while, at the same time, maintaining a sense of fun. “Cette fois-ci” is a lovely tribute, and one every male should pay to his long-unappreciated rock-of-a-girl before it’s too late.
Okay, categorize “Fòt Papam” (All My Daddy’s Fault) with “San Manti”, “Lanmou Pi Fò”, “J’ai Brulé Les Étapes”, and “It Doesn’t Matter”—if only because it focuses on an unexpected topic. A couple is deeply in love only to find out, that, well they have the same dad. It could easily ended there, except that, well, the girl is five months pregnant and they were about to jump the broom in a matter of days before the sordid revelation. Oh! And it must be agreed: It is daddy’s fault. Had daddy taken responsibility from the get-go for his seeds, they would have known each other! They would have broken bread together at family gatherings. But no, papa did not, and now look!
Oh, we have to discuss “San Manti”. At first I thought “San Manti” was being sung in a made-up language from the .35 to .58 seconds mark. Oh, so it’s Creole, and it’s just the way he’s delivering the lyrics! Got it! This track touches upon contemporary issues in Haiti like mass immigration to Brazil. It’s the voice of social conscience on Klere Yo.
“Aparans” (Appearances) corroborates with the ideology of “Yo te Met Di Madanm Mwen Pa Bon” (They Say My Girl Is No Good), another Disip track available on Amazon. The narrator encourages a judgement-free zone, and chides critical and not so-well-meaning voyeurs of his relationship, and character defamers.
So again, Disip’s Klere Yo album is what you might term a “confessional” album. We should all conduct similar confession sessions in our lives. It’s good to unburden the soul, and Klere Yo does a great deal of that, while managing to also feature some smooth harmonies and polished grooves.
This has been another episode of Kreyolicious Music brought to you by your fave chick Kreyolicious. Until next time!