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World Music CD Reviews North American

LATAYE

By Nils Jacobson
Published June 27, 2006

Tou Manbre
Dadisound Produtions

If you have any doubt about the Haitian origins of this release, whose title means “fully loaded,” just listen to the rooster crowing on the first track while Daniel “Dadi” Beaubrun makes the opening invocation, layers of drums eventually settling in and vivid choruses trading phrases back and forth. (The liner notes in Haitian Creole ought to offer another clue.) Beaubrun, a Grammy-nominated producer, guitarist, bassist and singer, is best known as a founding member of Boukman Eksperyans. He assumes formal leadership of this project, but his sister Marjorie carries the female vocals and a number of other musicians contribute as well. Melodic, warm vocals carry all of these accessible, catchy songs. However, the production suffers from a number of flaws, including inappropriate use of effects and synthetic-sounding textures, uneven mixing of chorus vocals and instruments, and intermittent prefab beats that pound away without the interaction and variation that best distinguish Haitian rhythms.  Sure, it's an interesting fusion of voudou music with rock and pop, but it's far too uneven to recommend without serious reservations.