Haitian Music Review: T-Vice, Resan

Studying konpa music band T-Vice’s musical history, it’s apparent that it’s always been about partying. In Vice World, there isn’t time for tears, it’s one endless party after another, so to speak. Thus, it isn’t much of a surprise that Resan, the band’s latest album is just that: a series of odes to the good life.

When compared to its predecessor Welcome to Haiti, Resan is undeniably inferior, but its merits cannot be denied. Was Welcome to Haiti, just a musical fling of sort? Honestly, it would have been nice to see the band push past its limits more musically, and flirt a little more along those experimental lines.

Sometimes diving into, or continuing into unknown territory can be terrifying, but the band played it much too safe.

Se Paw mwen Ye

A sure winner on Resan is “Se Pa’w Mwen Ye” (I Belong to You). “Se sa ou pa wè ya/Ki renmen ou tout bon vwe” [Sometimes it’s the one who’s invisible to your eyes/Who’s the one who truly cares for you], T-Vice lead singer Roberto Martino croons in the lines of the opening verse.

His voice almost has a refreshing quality to it. Singer Alan Cave is T-Vice lead singer Martino’s duet partner, and what a pair they make. The chorus is endlessly sweet, and some of the production is highly, very highly reminiscent of that of “Toi et Moi”, a standout on the Welcome to Haiti disc.

For a few seconds, it seemed that “Ma Cherie, Je T’aime” (Love Ya Baby) was going to be bogged down with a slight hint of auto tune, but no, the day is saved. The song proves to be a great vehicle for co-lead singer Olivier Duret.

Oliver Twist does wonders with this one, making it a great contender for one of the album’s most listenable tracks. “Mwen oblije tout lang mwen konnen pou’w konprann mwen/Mwen pa konn ki jan pou mwen esplike’w” [I felt some obligation to talk to you in every language I know/Can’t find a way to explain it to you], he sings, over a catchy hook.

T-vice resan Olivier Duret

And oh, the obligatory ode to Haiti track, “Lakay se Lakay” (Home Sweet Home) plays on nostalgia and with its accordion-heavy intro. Catchy, it—no doubt—is. And a quick visual of tap tap buses, corn on the cob grilling, and conch, and a sandy beach comes to mind.

Martino sings with so much love and so much passion for his homeland that it becomes more than apparent that this isn’t just another obligatory tribute to Haiti song, but a truly heartfelt call for unity and national rebuilding.

“Li bèl, li anfòm, li byen kanpe,” [She’s pretty, she’s fine, and she’s a true dime] sings Martino in “Fè Je’m Plezi” (Do Right By My Eyes). What? Nothing about her brains and her credit score? “Ou Pa Gen Zen Sa Nan Men’w” (You Girl Ain’t Got it Good Like That) pretty much duplicates the premise of “Fè Je’m Plezi”.

Perhaps it might be good to give these two songs multiple listens before coming to a more solid conclusion, but they both come across as the album’s weakest tracks.

A knight in shining armor is courting a virgin in “M’Anvi Gate’w” [Feel Like Spoiling You]. He’s promising her the world—literally—a potential trip to St. Tropez, Paris, and romps in presidential suites and yachts. All goes well until Martino yells, “I’m looking for a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets”, practically almost ruining the song’s momentum.

Why scrape the lyrics of another popular song and one with the premise that’s the virtual opposite of the song being sung—at that?

Thankfully, all is not lost, as the song resumes. “Yo di tèt mwen pati/Mwen mwen pral reyisi,” [They said my mind done gone/But I’m going to succeed], affirms the chorus. Despite the aforementioned glitch, “M’Anvi Gate’w” is one of the album’s better songs, and probably the best one on the album with Roberto Martino as lead.

The band fervently toots its own horns on “Kale Ko’w” (Wild Out), the ultimate dance floor party song, while “Map Tuip”(I’m Tripping), produced by uberproducer Power Surge, really gets the party going. What the song lacks lyrically, it certainly compensates two-folds beat-wise.

“All About You” can follow “M’Anvi Gate’w”, “Ma Cherie, Je T’aime”, and “Se Pa’w Mwen Ye”–in reverse order—in terms of the songs with the most potential and with the most substance. It’s the only song on the album in which Martino—our little Toto—and Oliver Twist get on the lead vocals together.

It’s great team work, and the pair’s musical chemistry manifests. The band—which also includes the musicians Eddy Viau, Gerald Kebreau, James Cardozo, Ricot Amazan and Rivenson Louissaint—really has great chemistry as a whole.

The intro to “All About You” is truly lovely. “Map siyen kontra tout rès vi mwen nan pye ou,” Martino sings in the song’s first lines—“I’m at your feet, signing over the rest of my life. Oh, wow. How romantic. The song clocks in at a prolonged six minutes.

Oh, goodness! But it’s a pleasant six minutes that’s barely noticeable, even if one is watching a clock dial.

Resan closes off with “Lage Bonm Nan” [Drop the Bomb], the band’s raucous carnival song.

The production on Resan is partly credited to Reynaldo Martino, the band’s musical director, and one is left with a feeling that he is fairly competent, even if taking musical risks is not his forte.

Resan has one think of the biggest party throwers in one’s neighborhood. Once they throw their most successful party, the bar is raised at its highest. So when the next party doesn’t exactly match up with its predecessor, there’s no need to create a riot, or to boo.

It will simply do to shrug it off, and enjoy the party for what it is. Some parties can’t be outdone. They can only be appreciated for what they are. And that is the deal with Resan. End of story.

Last Updated on November 10, 2023 by kreyolicious

Kreyolicious in Memoriam | Haitian Music Review: T-Vice, Resan

Other Posts

We Will Miss You

In loving memory of our dear friend. We are heartbroken and will miss her dearly. She was a shining light in our lives, with a kind and loving spirit that brought joy to all who knew her. Her passion was an inspiration to us all. We take comfort in knowing that her memory will live on through the website, which was a true testament to her talents and dedication. Rest in peace, dear. You will always be remembered and loved.