EleksyonNaval: Haiti’s Presidential Campaign Music

The first round of Haiti’s presidential elections is on Sunday, and as we’ve already told you before, campaign season in Haiti can be a headache.

A few months ago, we published a detailed guide to understanding elections in Haiti for those who don’t know and/or were too embarrassed to ask. Check it out if you need a refresher so you can follow what’s going on in the upcoming days.

There have been a few debates among some of the more popular candidates. The first was held in Washington D.C. hosted by Haiti Renewal Alliance. A full video of this town hall meeting can be watched here. Another notable debate was held by the CCIH (la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie d’Haíti). Ayibopost has published two great write-ups (French) on this event. (Here and here)  

And as we have mentioned before, Haiti Vote Blog (English) continues to provide excellent updates of all the news surrounding the Haiti elections of 2015.

Now that all of that important stuff  is out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff. We all know Haitians never miss an opportunity to write a good jingle. Every single thing, from toothpaste to insurance, has a song blasting on the radio for publicity. Campaign season is no exception, all the candidates have called up their musician buddies to write some tunes supporting them. It’s like Carnival in October! We’ve gotten some great laughs out of some of these songs, and maybe you have to. Let’s review a few notable ones (AKA the ones that could be found on soundcloud), shall we?

Moise Jean Charles

 

This one features a great “gouyadable” beat over the horns we’ve come to love from carnival tunes by groups like Barikad Crew and Team Lobey.

5 out of 5 points for catchiness

1 out of 5 points for lyrics

6/10

This second one is sung by Fredo from the racine group Kanpech (or at least someone who sounds an awful lot like him). The message in this one is intense: “Diyite peyi a menase, Bondye Moyiz bay nou pou sove peyi sa!” The dignity of the country has been threatened, God has sent Moise to save this country!

In addition to the senator’s self proclaimed title of “Dessaline’s son” Fredo annoints him as “the liberator, the savior” in this campaign tune. Like I said, the message is intense.

3 out of 5 points for catchiness

4 out of 5 points for lyrics (Mainly because they succeeded at freaking us out.)

7/10

Steven Benoit

Benoit went the more traditional route. The song doesn’t actually start until about 30 seconds into the track after a wise sounding man calmly urges everyone to vote for Benoit in a Pè Toma style monologue. Then in come the drums, and the voice of a lady who sounds like every Haitian’s auntie. Very natif natal, I’m into it.

4 out of 5 points for catchiness

2 out of 5 points for lyrics (Mainly because Pè Toma in the beginning is a little boring.)

6/10

Jean Henry Ceant

This one is a Rap Kreyòl track, and they went full Kanaval on this one. If a DJ played this tune at a party, everybody would keep on dancing and having a great time before it hit them that they were being force fed political propaganda in the middle of a turn up.

5 out of 5 points for catchiness

1 out of 5 point for lyrics

6/10

Mathias Pierre

This one is catchy enough. It’s your basic carnival style repeating of a slogan. Although, I’m still unsure what “Orijin mwen pap kondane’m” (My origins will not  condemn me) is supposed to tell us about the candidate.

3 out of 5 points for catchiness

1 out of 5 point for lyrics

4/10

And now the best one of all:

Jovenel Moise vs. Jude Celestin

It’s Bannann vs. CNE, Drake vs. Meek Mill, Big O vs. Wyclef all in one. Ladies and gentlemen, if there is anything positive to come out of this year’s election, it is the fact that it has brought about an actual politically themed rap beef. It all started when Wyclef decided to endorse Jude Celestin with the following song “Lè a rive.”

The song starts of with a slow reggae groove, with Clef recounting the events of his life since the last presidential elections. Wyclef lets us know that all the candidates have been texting his phone begging for his support. Who will it be? The beat drops, and “Le a rive, le a rive, m’ap sipote Jude Celestin!” In this song, Wyclef has given us a sob story, a few punchlines, and a catchy beat to dance to. *slow clap*

4 out of 5 stars for catchiness

3 out of 5 stars for lyrics

7/10

Big O, son of President Martelly who Wyclef had endorsed last elections, stepped into the studio and cranked up his autotune to give his response. “Pa vin blofe pep la ak bel mizik” he ironically tells Clef, don’t try to bluff the people with catchy music. He actually kept it classy with the insults to Wyclef, we were kind of hoping for something juicier. Oh well.

3 out of 5 stars for catchiness

3 out of 5 stars for lyrics

6/10

But the treats don’t end here! Apparently Wyclef has a lot of time on his hands right now because Thursday morning, he tweeted that he has released an actual 6 track election themed mixtape. 

 

Featuring:

  • a “Yele” remix over a Fetty Wap beat
  • a “Lè a rive” remix over another Fetty Wap beat.
  • Lyrics like: “mont mwen pa bezwen pil, li otomatik. Menm jan nou pap bezwen dezyèm tou, se otomatik.” … “My watch doesn’t need batteries, it’s automatic. The same way we won’t be needing a second round of elections, it’s automatic.” (No, we didn’t make that up.)

Haitians will be voting for a new president on Sunday. Many are discouraged and disillusioned, while others still find a way to remain hopeful. While many things can be said about Haiti’s political situation, there is one thing we can all agree on: Haitian politics are anything but boring.

 

Photo via twitter.com/wyclef
Team Woy

Team Woy

Haiti through our voices. Ayiti nan vwa pa nou.

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