This post is also available in: Kreyol
After 15 years of good music, good shows and good memories, CaRiMi has called it quits. A few days have passed now since the announcement, and nobody has jumped out to say the news was just a bad joke or lapse in judgment. It seems like this time it’s official. For many, the news of the split-up is heartbreaking because CaRiMi’s music has been the soundtrack to countless intimate moments, wild nights with friends, and private trying times. We asked fans to share their most cherished CaRiMi related memories with us. Let’s reminisce on the 15 years of “Konpa en 3 dimensions” Ca…Ri…Mi:
1. Por Favor
We were 12. My parents didn’t used to let me go out much back then, but that night they gave me permission to go to this party. He and I had known each other all our lives, but neither of us knew that we had a crush on the other. While at the party, “Player” came on. He was so shy, but he gathered the courage to ask me to dance, and I was too happy to say yes. Little did I know that he would be my first love. Little did we know that 13 years later, we would still be involved. Little did we know that all these years later, that first dane to CaRiMi would be one of our fondest memories.
2. Are You Ready?
Carimi had a show at Zenith in Paris on May 8, 2010. I remember this very well. I was one of the only Haitian journalists Carimi invited to come cover the event. I made the trip from Haiti to Paris, and accompanied them on all of their promotional interviews leading up to the event. I was impressed hearing what the group had to say, and finding out what they were worth. The show at Zenith ran for 2 hours nonstop. It was a sold out show, and from the very first note, the crowd was on fire. It was shocking for me, because up until then, I had not realized how much Carimi meant to people. Of course, I knew that people always said that Carimi was a band that was going far, and that they were taking Haitian music to new levels. But I always assumed they were a band that simply had the proper connections to always book shows. Watching them shut down Le Zenith that night proved me wrong. I was very happy to witness that event. If you know what Carimi was able to do at Le Zenith, then you understand how huge of an impact that band had because not many Haitian bands can do what Carimi did at Zenith that night.
3. Se La M Pwale
We went to Carimi in 2013, our first Konpa show together while we were still sort of talking. During “Cheri Fè M Kado W”, we sealed the kiss. We had gone on two dates before that, and the kiss made it official. Four years later, we are still going strong.
One of my favorite memories with Carimi was on July 3, 2014 in New York. I left Montreal early because I did not want to miss this show, but I had been sick all morning with a fever, headache, and throwing up, and I couldn’t stand up for long. My friends who were coming with me decided we weren’t going anymore because I was too sick. I got mad, I lied and told them I felt better. I forced a smile, and every time someone asked me “how do you feel?” I responded “I’m feeling much better.” Only God and I know how sick I really felt. I went and took a long nap, and was ready to go by 9pm. Everyone was shocked, but said nothing. While on our way over to the show, I made them stop the car. I ran out and threw up everything inside me. My friends decided we were going to go back home, I screamed “NO!” It’s as if I knew exactly what I needed. As soon as I stepped foot in the venue for the show, my excitement made my headache disappear. I greeted all the guys in the band, exchanged a few jokes with Carlo and Michael, and started feeling even better. By the time the band started playing, I was completely healed. I will never forget that night, where I was so thirsty to hear my favorite band play, not even a sickness could stop me!
So when “Fè M Kado W” came out, my boyfriend (he wasn’t Haitian) at the time, asked me to translate and explain the song to him. I didn’t speak English very well back then, but I gladly translated it for him. He told me he loved the song.
I found out some time later, (from his best friend at the time) that he had another Haitian girlfriend, and he went and played and dedicated “Fè M Kado W” to her, reciting the lyrics I had translated for him! The best friend liked me better than the other girl, and decided to fill me in months later. I couldn’t listen to that song for a long time until very recently, and I started to appreciate it all over again.
6. Nasty Biznis
I get nostalgic every time I recall my high school graduation party in 2007. It was the first time Carimi was play at a graduation party for a senior class, TERMINAL PERFECT, Collège Canado Haiïtien.
My father gave me permission to use his car that night to celebrate my graduation. My brother had the car before me and didn’t bring it back until 2 hours before I needed to leave for the party. I put on my shirt, my tie and my jacket, and left out without bothering to check how much gas was in the car. The only thing I was worried about was how fresh I looked. First thing I did was head over to Bourdon to pick up Christopher, then back over to Petionville, and the car broke down! We were out of gas. We had two choices: go sou woulib putting the car in neutral and coasting down to the gas station in Lalue, or sit and wait for my brother to pick us up. We decided on the first option. When we got there, the gas station was closed! A cop stopped us to inspect our car, but luckily, he was a family friend and we got through quickly. We put the car back on neutral, and coasted to the gas station at Kafou Tifou, and finally were able to get some gas. Finally, we were ready to head to Le Florville. But first, one last stop in Tomasen 32 to pick up the pretty lady who was wearing a black dress and a little hat, looking as good as a Hollywood star. I have to admit, on our way to her house, the car landed in a big pothole, and all the guys had to get out and push the car to get out of it. After all that struggle, we made it to Le Florville where all our friends were waiting for us, dressed to the nines. I walked in feeling like the man with my beautiful date on my arm (an older girl) and all eyes were on her. AHH If only, Le Florville could speak, it would tell you what it witnessed that night! Kote lanmou kache…I wanna Be…Ne t’en vas pas…this is my favorite Carimi memory.
7. Chagren Kriminèl
My boyfriend was in jail, I was about to lose my apartment, I was out of a job, I didn’t know where to turn or what to do with my life at that point. I was utterly alone and I felt so helpless. I remember hearing Chagren Kriminel and it really gave me a chance to relate to the lyrics for a variety of reasons. That song saw me through. ” Je mwen pè louvri pou li gade lòt sous lanmou ki pou nouri kè m m ap evite yon chagren, chagren kriminèl.” I GET CHILLS WITH THIS LYRIC.
8. Bò Kote W
I went to a Carimi show with a pretty lady. It was Akoustik and Carimi at La Reserve on January 2nd. It was our first real date and Konpa show together. She was wearing a pretty pink dress. Akoustik finished killing their performance, and it was now Carimi’s turn. The vibe of the night slowed down. No more jumping up and down, now it was time to find your person, and find a spot on the dancefloor to dance. The dancefloor was packed. Now was the moment to prove if you could dance. Now was the moment to check if you smelled good enough to press your bodies together for a slow dance. If my memory serves me correctly, they played “Wanna Be” that night, which is my favorite Carimi song. I closed both of my eyes and allowed myself to be transported on that dancefloor. Transported to a place where only she and I existed.
This was one of the best nights I have ever spent with someone at a Konpa show. Unfortunately, she is no longer with us. Thank you Carimi for allowing us to have that moment together.
Even though we are sad, we are also grateful. Thank you for the memories, CaRiMi, and we hope that all of you find the peace of mind you are searching for.
Photo via: Carimi Nation