Kreyolicious Music…in which…in which I review a kreyolicious album—
Album: Invictus, Kreyol La,
Lead Vocals: Joseph Zenny, Jr
Musicians: Joseph Zenny Jr (lead singer) Stanley Herisse ( Bassist) Lhoman Jean ( Guitarist) Theophile Jadotte ( Bass) Antonio Guillaume ( Drums) Edler St Cyr ( Gongs). Information Credit: Band’s Facebook page
The first thing you want to know about Invictus from the band Kreyol La isn’t whether the album is decent or not…it’s what Invictus means exactly. It probably has something to do with the Roman Empire, I tell myself. So up to the ‘pedias I go. So, it turns out that in the 19th Century, wrote a poem that was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse. Nowhere in the poem does the word “invictus” appear.
So, here I am as a person living in the 21st Century, trying to see if there’s a connection, a bridge of sorts between a poem written in 1892 by a British poet and a musical album released in the mid-2010s by a Haitian band.
In the last two verses of the poem, Henley wrote:
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul
So, “Invictus” is about being invincible, and taking responsibility for one’s life. Well, that’s the poem…let’s see about the album.
Kreyol La’s Invictus album introductory song “Men Jazz La” (There Goes The Band) sets the tone. Further down the line, there’s yet another song entitled “Tout Mounn Suiv Mwen” (“Errrbody Follow Me”)…more bragging and horn-tooting.
“Before And After” got me from its very first verses with that speed-talking-singing that the lead singer does. “Before” and “after” are words that are often used to describe makeovers and welcomed changes, and sometimes negative development over time. The song “Before and After” paints two paintings before us. The first is of a couple’s relationship when they’ve first going at it. Each person tries to depict themselves as the ideal mate, and tries to conceal all their shortcomings. Total misrepresentation of one’s personalities, wishes, and tendencies! The second painting is the aftermath of when all the misrepresentations have come undone.
There’s a telling part from Mikaelle Cartwright, Zenny’s duet partner in the bridge of the song:
I don’t know why these other girls be trippin’
Calling their men the whole night
I don’t even go out…so…you don’t have to worry about a thing
And I trust you
Baby, I’m yours…one-hundred-percent
Then…it’s the 180—
Suddenly the patient boyfriend-candidate has become the impatient husband.
Fòm tann ou abiye
Pa bliye pafime
Apre sa pou ou change lide
So wait, I have to wait for you to dress up
Put on makeup
And let’s not forget the perfuming
And you to keep changing your mind
Gee, whatever happened to the patience you displayed in the beginning? And what about the non-jealous attitude? And the controlling begins too…
Ou veye sa’m mete
Ou veye sa’m depanse
Ou pa vle wè zanmi’m
Kòmsi yo te nwi’w
You stay watching what I wear
You keep close watch on my spending
You can’t stand my friends
You act like they bother you
Ou bonbade’m avèk kout fil…
You keep blowing up my phone…
Cheri, ou jalou twòp
Depi telefonn mwen sonnen
Ou pale tenten
Ugh, you’re so freaking jealous
The minute my phone rings
You start complaining
You get all suspicious
You talk trash
Cheri, ou chanje
Se pa konsa’w te ye
Honeykins, you done changed
That’s not how you used to be
In the last verses, the song advises us all to show our cards at the beginning of a relationship, so that we don’t get unpleasant—very unpleasant surprises—in the end. How ironic, then, that the song that follows “Before and After” is a track called “Triye” that counsels men and women to be excessively picky when choosing—and exhorts them to try hard to work at things before throwing the towel. If “Triye” does it job, there will be less divorces, but a whole lot less new relationships since folks will be making better “chwa”.
The song “Fòk Ou Kwe” (You Gotta Believe) might as well as been called “Invictus”. Its motivating lyrics about being courageous and adapting to life’s difficulties with grace certainly makes it “invictus” material.
The track “Lanmou Engra” (Ungrateful Love) takes the prize for best song—lyrically speaking on Invictus. Ahem, “Triye” and “Before and After” can share the honorary prize in that category. I don’t know. It seems like the songwriter behind “Lanmou Engra” song has attention for details when it comes to love and emotions. “Lanmou Engra” addresses how we tend to forget all the great things about love when there’s a breakup or a major disagreement.
Ou pap menm sonje tout bon moman nou pase
Ou pap menm sonje menm ki jan mwen rele
You’ll have amnesia about our best moments
You probably won’t remember my name
Once this song concludes, it’s clear that a mid-way verdict can be made regarding Invictus. This whole album is like a course in love psychology with music in the background. Really. The lyrics of most of the songs are rather fresh. No corny and trite lyrics here, barely. In a song like “Rendevou”, the games men play is center stage. A known man whore is trying to charm the newest addition to his harem. He’s barely trying to avoid places where he’ll be recognized. I always have a problem with these player songs. They’re made out to be funny, but it’s hard to find them amusing…women are getting played and emotions are being played with. Featuring Michel Dulix, the song “Turn Me On” proves to be one of the most upbeat track on Invictus. I definitely can see it doing considerable damage on the dance floor. And is that a bit of/ a close cousin of autotune towards the beginning? Those sound effects are totally unnecessary.
Nap fèl an kachèt
Moun pa bezwen konnen
Ki jan nou renmen
We’re going to do it on the down-low
Nobody needs to know
The degree that we do our loving
Fanm nan mete sou sa
Sou sa o sou sa
This chick puts me in the mood
In the mood…in the mood
“Cheri Map File’w” completes the huge flirt/man-whore trilogy. This song differs from “Rendevou” and “Turn Me On” in that the girl is somewhat in on the antics.
Invictus is nearly all ballads with some few exceptions. “Peyi Cho Pa Pou Mwen” could be a great workout song…if you can do 12 steps at a time on a treadmill. Would you be able to keep up? Goodness! I call it the “Stay Awake” song on the album. If you have to pull an all-night to study for a test or a certification exam, this song should be on your playlist. That singer Mikaelle Cartwright that’s featured on the song “Before and After”…I wonder what she would be capable of if she were given songs of her own. Her voice has this jazzy feel.
William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” was about being unconquerable. Being emotionally bulletproof in love is the theme that permeates Kreyol La’s Invictus . I suppose that the British poet and scribe of the 1800s, and the album of the 2010s demonstrate that over time, over the centuries little has changed. There’s still a need for one to gather up emotional courage in order to conquer life’s and love’s biggest hurdles.
Let’s do our best to support Haitian music. to purchase Invictus | | |
to visit the KREYOL LA WEBSITE |
Last Updated on November 10, 2023 by kreyolicious