Boston's own Lisa Moise offers sweet treat to the ears

Lisa MoiseLisa MoiseLisa Moise
Boite de Chocolat

Boston’s own Lisa Moise recently released a first effort for the hearts and minds of music lovers. The independently released “Boite de Chocolat” features 10 original compositions all of which are manned by a cast of talented local musicians and producers.

It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the work of a local artist and we’re happy Lisa’s release provides a chance to prominently feature a homegrown product. Boite de Chocolat being among the few releases from a female artist this year is special because Lisa represents a new generation of young women coming into the scene who may be poised to continue the work of the many fine and unsung female artists who have made serious contributions to Haiti’s expansive library of music.

“Boite de Chocolat” truly is a sweet and varied adventure in sound. The performances that stand out on this release include the acoustic-pop-hip-hop “Chanje” a song with a distinctly American instrumental bent but sung in Haitian Kreyol and enunciated with an American finesse that very few singers are able to pull off effectively.

And speaking of distinct singers, Lisa’s voice is manna from heaven and nowhere is this more evident than with a listen to “Ou Regret” with its mix of African and Black Parent style Konpa-Manba rhythms and a killer piece of harmonization on the second chorus! No work of this type is quite finished without an ode to the motherland and Lisa’s “Ayiti” drips real tears it’s so well performed. The album’s title track, “Kadanse” displays the versatility of the musicians executing this work and here they effectively reproduce the fearless attack of the Miami Konpa Direk sound without drowning Lisa’s lustrus vocal performance.

The subtle sophistication of the best numbers on this release leave me no choice but to conclude that we have a true gem on our hands with Lisa Moise. Not all the songs featured on this release are hits but there is a seriously professional consistency across the tunes. The quality of the instrumental work on this piece is good and lends the stage to main feature – Lisa’s vocals. And what a great voice Lisa’s is, a true hybrid of Haitian and American musical influences. Listening to this vocalist sing is floating on a cloud with a box of chocolates – Swiss chocolates! The contributions of all the instrumentalists featured on this release are solid and the overall mix of the work is the stuff of dreams. Overall, this is work very well done for a freshman effort. We look forward to more!

Do yourself a favor and discover this local artist today. Buy the whole box of chocolates!

Konpa Lojik
Various Artists

Our yesteryears keep cropping up because they’ve withstood the test of time and for the most part remain unchallenged accomplishments in music. Celebrating this truism is what Digicel’s “KonpaLojik” is all about. The album features 8 quality remakes of some of Konpa’s best achievements sung by today’s most popular artists.

The gang’s all here! And by this I mean Gazzman Couleur, formerly of Nu-Look, Kenny Desmangles of New York All Stars and Zenglen fame; Arly Larivierre current leader of Nu-Look; Emmanuel Obas and Eric Charles of Mizik Mizik fame – need I say more? The other gang’s all here too and by that I mean the Godfathers of our music: Bossa Combo, Frères Dejean, Scorpio, Accolade, DP Express and more. The new generation meets again with the genius and insight of their forebears in fame and music to preserve these musical treasures in our collective memories.

KonpaLojik is an exciting walk down memory lane and the cast of musicians chosen to man these classic songs really deliver. Gazzman Couleur starts things off with all the Miami heat his vocals can muster in a remake of Nemours Jn Baptiste’s “Konpa Direk”, where he is supported by Nick Prudhomme on keys and the Zenglen horn and rhythm section for a remake that truly captures what the classic Konpa swing is all about. And as long as we’re on Zenglen, Kenny Desmangles delivers a strong performance on the Accolade classic “Amour” which lives up to the high standard of the original and perhaps surpasses it once we consider Julio Diaz’s fantastic horn feature. Mizik Mizik fans will rejoice upon hearing Manno Obas take on what has to be one of the more challenging arrangements in Haitian music – Frere Dejean’s “Malere” – and while Douby’s original vocal work may never be surpassed, Manno’s smooth vocals bring something new to this classic. We close off with Arly Lariviere’s absolutely astounding rendition of DP Express’s “Lavi” and – considering the great guitar work of Ralph Conde - I have to admit, the original may have been surpassed.

Konpalojik ranks among the nostalgic releases that really deliver. The originality and artistry of the originals are effectively reproduced and the musicians are true to the spirit of the originals. Various producers contributed to this release and while at times this is a formula for inconsistent sound and performance quality, this is definitely not the case here. The studios of Arly Lariviere, Shedly Abraham, Jean Max Valcourt and more were enlisted in this effort and they all showed love by delivering quality work. Shedly, especially, has to be commended for championing this type of work and leading a talented cast of musicians through one of Frere Dejean’s more demanding works. Having said this, his strategic advantage lay in his direct access to some of the musicians who manned the original piece – Ronald Smith, Ernst Vincent and Reginald Benjamin were on hand to help ensure the quality of this remake.
Konpalojik is definitely a worthwhile purchase for serious collectors. Discover this classic today!

The Reporter Thanks: Patrick St. Germain for availing the CDs for our review. The releases can be purchased at Parfumery International located at 860 Morton Street, Dorchester (617)825-6151.