Saturday, 21 November 2015

Retour a Haiti: Gerald Merceron and Herby Widmaier are back with their magnificent and long-awaited Tet San Ko, 1980

We can never get enough from gorgeous, eloquent and mysterious Haiti-- that undiscovered country from whose beautiful bourn, of course, none wishes to return...   it's our fourth platterly trip back today (but never the last) with those wonderful Widmaiers and jazz keyboard genius Gerald Merceron and our collection still has holes.  I referred to this already in my treatise on music after hearing the shocking progressive composition of the title track.  Oddly enough it reappears purely as an instrumental in the b5 position here so the youtube upload has an elsewhere provenance.

This is a real mixed bag, not as consistent musically as the previous Energie Mysterieuse, with quite a variety of music, generic tropical uptempo pop-like songs (admittedly with odd chords) in the b1 position, chamber music with string quartets (a5 and b5), a vocal song purely accompanied by violin a la julverne, just like in the 1978 work, a few interesting electric piano ballads sung mostly by Lionel Benjamin this time, even an experimental, improvised instrumental like the middle part of King Crimson's Moonchild at b6, altogether, songwriting not quite as good even as son Mushy's Kote Ou masterpiece.

Here's one of the best songs, b3, with Gerald's trademark electric piano, the synth at the beginning reminding me a lot of Mo's first demo album:

Again the rainbow appears lyrically (lakansyel).

Some more notes of interest taken from the back:
The first track is advertised as a new Haitian dance, the "Shampa."
A new and fresh-faced Widmaier appears, Hansy, who plays bass on a few tracks.  I would love to know who is who on the back photo.  Our old favourite Mushi plays synths on the above sample b3.  Herby (or Herbie) only sings one song (a3).
Lyrics consist of poems set to music, by Frank Etienne, Antonio Rival, Pierre Richard Narcisse (what a great name!), Rudolph Muller, and Gerald himself (a2 and b1).  What a shame we can't understand the original writings as they must-- without a doubt--  be beautiful.
All compositions and arrangements of course are from the great Merceron.

The following quote appears at the bottom:

"prendre du passé rien que ce qui peut aider a pénétrer victorieusement dans l 'avenir. Tout le reste n'est que fatras"  --Leon Laleau.

"Take from the past nothing but what can aid to penetrate successfully the future.  All the rest is just noise (?)".

And of course, my plaintive and unrequited (usually) question which I asked for Karlos Steinblast and J.F. Murphy in the past-- where are they now?  today?

This was recorded in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.