Standout Track: No. 10, “I Feel Something,” from the new Maryland Haitian konpa singing quartet Fa Wouch’s debut album Pa Gen 2. Led by former Zepon member Jean Claude Vivens, Fa Wouch started as Vivens’ solo project in summer 2015, but soon after he recruited two other former Zepon singers to join him. Not long after that, a fourth vocalist and various instrumentalists were added to the mix. This polished, sugary love song starts off with jazzy electric and acoustic guitar chords from co-songwriter Jean Gardy Hyppolite before singer Jacky Bois comes in with a yearning, soulful refrain.
Musical Motivation: Vivens says that he was excited by the 40th anniversary of Haitian group Magnum Band and approached guitarist/songwriter Hyppolite “looking for a song with their feeling.” Hyppolite, who Vivens says “has a million and one songs in his hard drive” wrote the lyrics and music, with some help from Bois. “At first, the song was mostly guitars,” Vivens says, but after “the engineer at the mastering studio previewed the song,” he told Vivens that it “sounds too much like Magnum Band,” and suggested adding some keyboards to mix it up.
Friday Night Rituals: The album, with its mix of Creole and English-language love songs and upbeat dance party tracks, was recorded in Hyppolite’s basement home studio in Beltsville. “This is where we meet regularly, especially on Fridays,” Vivens says. “We usually cook ribs, chicken, and Haitian food, and have friends over to sip fine wines and liqueurs.” But when it comes to recording days, it’s a ritualistic affair: “Only musicians are allowed in the studio that we affectionately call THE TEMPLE,” he says.