Edited by Azizi Powell
This post showcases a video of the contemporary Haitian song "Kote moun yo" ("Where Are The People") by BélO.
Information about BélO is included in this post along with a partial English translation of the lyrics for this song and selected comments from that YouTube video's discussion thread.
The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to BélO for his musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT BélO
Jean Bélony Murat (born 29 October 1979, Port-au-Prince, Haiti) known by his stage name BélO, who is a Haitian composer and guitarist. His first album Lakou trankil (Quiet Streets) is treasured by Haitians because the songs explain and reflect the problems the country faces. Bélo is popular in Europe and Africa where he won the Discovery RFI Prime in April 2006. This award had already helped other artists like Tiken Jah Fakoly and Rokia Traoré to reveal their talent in the music industry. Bélo's musical approach is influenced by other Caribbean styles but mostly by reggae and jazz.
Jean Bélony Murat was born on October 29, 1979, at Croix-des-Bouquets in the north of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. He grew up at Pétionville an area where music has an important role in the Haitian community. He started to sing at a very young age and at 11 years old interpreted Buju Banton, his idol...
He went to university in 2001 where he studied accounting for four years. Then he was ready to devote his life to music and released his first album in 2005.
After Lakou trankil, the first album which had a lot of success locally and internationally, BélO released Reference. This is also close to reggae and has a touch of pop and jazz. He exposed the social problems of humankind, such as violence, AIDS and homeless children. In other words, BélO is an ambassador of the Haitian music; he shows love and affection for his homeland. In his songs he is making society aware of its problems and is proposing solutions."
From http://www.afrik.com/article11637.html "Haitians are also Africans", April 28, 2007
[translated to English from Google Translate]
...."Afrik.com: In your music, reggae influence is very strong. In Haiti, Queen music is the compass. Why this taste to that of the neighboring island of Jamaica?
Bélo: I make all kinds of music, with originality. As soon as you hear them, you know it is Bélo. My album, there is a variety that shows my versatility and show that I can play some musical styles while remaining myself. In addition, we Haitians are Caribbean, American, African, influenced by all kinds of styles, colors a cultural mosaic. Reggae is one of them. It is a message to music. And in my album, I spend messages of love, peace. There are also social character songs.
Afrik.com: Haiti has experienced in recent years of acute political tension. Can you qualify singer committed to the equal of Wyclef Jean, for example, which clearly supported Aristide and the Lavalas party and René Préval, the current president?
Bélo: I am very politically neutral. This is especially the social interests me. For example, Lakou trankil, which is the title of my album as well as a song that appears there, ask everyone to respect the rules. It is for all parties whatever their edges. I run useful messages to the whole society and not only to part."
...for BélO, the Haitian singer and guitarist known for his catchy reggae- and world beat-influenced music and for his dedication to social issues, the title of his fourth album, “Natif Natal,” serves just that function.
“‘Natif Natal’ is a way for me to say that my sound has changed a little bit, but I’m still Haitian,” the musician says recently, speaking via Skype from the capital city, Port-au-Prince, with his 7-month-old daughter making occasional babbling noises in the background.
In recent years, he has been developing something of “an international sound.” “I started to tour internationally, more than in Haiti, and I made a lot of exchanges with different musicians from around the world,” he says. “My music has become more sophisticated.” But for him, “inspiration comes from my country first.” The Haitian Creole phrase “Natif Natal” — which might be translated as “Native Born” — emphasizes that bond with his homeland....
About the time he released his debut album, “Lakou Trankil,” in 2005, he took to calling his musical style “ragganga.” “It’s a mixture of Haitian traditional music with all kinds of foreign music — like reggae, jazz, rock-and-roll, funk,” he says. “It’s a music that reflects the reality of Haiti. Haiti is [part of] the African diaspora. We were colonized by the French. We’re so close to the U.S., so close to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. So we have a lot of influences.”
While touring and crafting his albums “Référence” (2008) and “Haiti Debout” (2011), he has gained a reputation as a socially conscious musician, grappling in song with issues such as HIV/AIDS awareness and the plight of at-risk children. After the 2010 earthquake ravaged Haiti (he was abroad at the time), BélO threw himself into a marathon series of concerts to raise funds for relief work."...
LYRICS - KOTE MOUN YO" ("Where Are The People")
(partial English translation)
Where people are high, I do not see those high!
I remember long Lemma vacation three months
S'on pleasure to go down grandmother tiya
Pou'n to mange mango, take a bath in gwodlo
I remember if it was today kò'm
I and all the friends on the katiye
Le'n we are doing game lake, play football and rubber sandals
Kouniye But, things are changing
I do not see children play marbles
Neither play jacks, do not jump rope looking up
We confused .... we mixed
Where are they? (Ooooo)
I do not see people (Ooooo)
Where people can play football ave'm
M'pa see children grew Ask Here
Where are they? (Ooooo)
I do not see people (Ooooo)
Where people were important in my heart
M'pa see children grew Ask Here
As kon'n beautiful evening
Lè'n sitting in the yard
All children in loot Grandpa
Looking tell you
As beautiful kon'n
As we go down the field feeding on Cayman booty
Drinking coconut immature we lavironn yachting
But kouniye, things changed
Children rather eat
Food wrapping things from abroad
We confuse us confused ......
M'chache, M'pa seen
Have what ezile
There are those deported
There are so shell enclosing gods
Days are not yet arrived
There is this persistent,
With hope, this will change ya deliver
Indeed ... indeed
ADDED BY MASAKADIE (Oct 29, 2014)
Album: Haiti Debout
SHOWCASE VIDEO: BelO - Kote moun yo (official video 2011)
BélO Haiti, Uploaded on Dec 6, 2011
Kote moun yo? ( en francais "ou sont les gens"?, en anglais" where are the people"?)
BelO chante "Kote Moun Yo", premiere chanson placee en deuxieme position sur son nouvel album " Haiti debout" sorti cet été ( 2011) en france par France Infos et distribue par harmonia Mundi.
Google translate to English:
Where are they? (En francais "you are the folks" ?, en anglais "Where are the people?")
BelO song "where people", first song teapot in Second Position sur sound new album "Collapse standing" outputs contrarian summer (2011) in France by France Infos and distributed by Harmonia Mundi.
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
"Bon bagay! Mwen renmen sa anpil."
Google Translate from Haitian Creole to English:
Good stuff! I like that a lot.
"sick groove in the beginning of this song"
"Sick" =African American Vernacular English for "great"
"and I love her dress. this is genuine Haitian Beauty"
"Great song, i love it .Thanks belo for keeping the haitian culture alive in your music."
"bon bagay bro!"
in English - good stuff bro (brother)
"Yeahhh BelO for life!!"
"True, where are the people? There are so many who travel abroad and forget where they from, they do not teach the history of their country to their kids, make them grow up to be ignorant. I wish every Haitian have the same vision to change the country for the new generation coming up."
"Damn THIS remindS me of me and my brothers in haiti.."
"Bittersweet memories. Love that song. Every time I listen to that song, it makes me feel like going to the countryside. Great text!"
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