Lakou Mizik – HaitiaNola

Album Review | Cumbancha | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Uplifting collaboration between Lakou Mizik and a host of guests, from Leyla McCalla and the Preservation Hall Jazz band to members of Arcade Fire. Never a dull moment from start to finish with some of the most infectious grooves and festival rhythms, where Haiti meets New Orleans with relish. With both historical and cultural connections, the Caribbean spirit is matched with the enduring spirit of Louisiana, where the mix of styles and textures go hand in hand, with each of the musicians delivering fine performances throughout, both vocally and instrumentally.

With the disastrous events of 2010 clearly serving as the foundation upon which Lakou Mizik was built, a spirit of empathy and solidarity unifies the ‘collaborative gumbo’, which comes over as pure celebration. The celebratory “Iko Kreyol” makes an appearance, reminding us once again of its place in both Haitian and New Orleans culture, a nod also to the Dixie Cups and the late Dr John. It’s not all street party and celebration though, with one or two moonlit melodies such as Steeve Valcourt’s sumptuous “Rasanbleman”, featuring Leyla McCalla’s voice and cello. With contributions from Anders Osborne, Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews and Jon Cleary among others, HaitiaNola brings a unique blend of Mardi Gras and Kanaval, which is both irresistible and essential listening.

Choice Track: “Rasanbleman” (NSV 490)