||I just finished listening to Natalie Jean’s new fast paced album, Haiti Mwen Renmenw and it’s a toe tapper. With quite a few albums under her belt, Haiti’s favorite songstress releases her latest high-energy foray into jazz, Jamaican, and Latin genres with ten tracks of ballads and pulsing music.
Natalie Jean, the daughter of well-known Haitian singer Guy R. Jean, started out with poetry and dance, but music called to her and singing became her vocation. She is an award winning vocalist that has so many accolades, I wouldn’t have room to list them all and still have room for a review. Let me just say that she has crossed numerous genres and has had success with all of them in one way or another.
Her offering is Haiti Mwen Renmenw, a tribute to her first love, Haiti. The music is strong and rhythmic, sometimes brash and always enthusiastic as in Se Kanaval and Endependans.
One of the ballads is Smoking Ke Fan, a song penned by her father 25 years ago as a snapshot of daily life, one of Natalie Jean’s favorite subjects. An Selebre Papa Dambalah, is a homage to Haitian religion and the Sky Father responsible for creating the earth, its valleys and its hills. Likewise, the tune Lapé has some distinctive tribal rhythms.
One of the better tracks on Haiti Mwen Renmenw is Saut D’eau, (Salt Water), a dreamy ballad reminiscent of French female torch songs, a favorite theme of this singer. Mamarbou is a slow tune devoted to diversity, adversity, and the history of people in Haiti. L’Amour A L’Infini is another French love song with a lot of passion.
The rhythms sometimes sound homogenous, the songs running into each other almost seamlessly. Most of the songs are what are called “power’ song with lots of trilling and speed renditions. The lyrics are sung in a multitude of languages, i.e., French, Haitian, and Haitian Creole. The album itself could benefit by some higher production values. The singer needs more presence, the music more dynamics.