January 23 2014
Hugo Mendez. Remember that name ye lovers of tropical musics, because this cat tarries in only the deepest and dopest sounds from all over the tropics. His wharehouse parties in London are legendary and the songs he's purveyed on his Sofrito series (Sofrito: International Soundclash and Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque) were tops for my best compilation category in 2011 and 2012. So when I heard he had a new comp coming, I got excited. When I learned it was focusing on Haitian music called Haiti Direct, I got extra excited and contacted Strut Records to let them know I was gonna die if I didn't get this on Milwaukee's airwaves.
I live. And the fact that I played a cut from Haiti Direct today at 11am is my thanks to them. Haiti Direct is a rare glimpse into Haitian music from the 60's and 70's. It goes beyond the well-worn cliches; the voodoo drums and whatnot, and into the real grooves. On it you hear early vibes from classic Haitian groups like Les Difficiles de Petion-Ville and Tabou Combo during seminal years for distinctive Haitian styles like kompa, twoubadou and rumbero. Haiti Direct is an excellent primer for understanding Haitian music and a good way to get you in the dancing mood. Haiti Direct hits streets January 28th on Strut Records. My advice? Buy it! You can get two songs free here...