Lakou Mizik: HaitiaNola
Even the colorful description on their website—”Lakou Mizik is a powerhouse collective of Haitian roots music with a soulful energy and a mix of styles that feels mystical and familiar at the same time”—can’t help but seem flat next to the spirited celebration that emerges as soon as you press play. HaitiaNola is nonstop, joyous groove music, churning island rhythms bolstered by the participation of several of New Orleans’ finest. The band—formed in the wake of the ruinous 2010 Haitian earthquakes—is the sound of Haiti’s rebirth, and HaitiaNola , the followup to their debut Wa Di Yo , is their coming of age party. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band drops in on “Renmen,” the opening track, and the party begins: A swirl of drums, layered percussion, power-packed horns, melodious instruments and mellifluous, call-and-response vocals find a common core. Other guests—Cyril Neville, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne and Jon Cleary among them—lend their support. Anders Osborne is the visiting dignitary on “Lakou Dogwe,” which falls somewhere between the voodoo gris-gris of early Dr. John and the deepest psychedelic reggae, while Trombone Shorty proves a willing foil to singer Nadine Remy on “Pistach Griye.” Ultimately, though, the seductive charms of HaitiaNola always come down to Lakou Mizik themselves, as riveting and inviting an ensemble as you’re likely to encounter.