IMG_9527©Romain-Staropoli

New Music:

Mélissa Laveaux

Lè Ma Monte Chwal Mwen

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words by tom johnson

photograph by romain staropoli

There’s a beautifully bright sway to Mélissa Laveaux’s new track that instantly grips, the Ottawa-via-Haiti songwriter crafting something both tender and tremendous on her re-working of an original work by legendary Haitian artist Martha Jean-Claude, who escaped to Cuba after being imprisoned, whilst pregnant, by the regime for the militancy of her art. Laveaux’s take is a quietly magical piece, and released as part of a three-track EP which is out tomorrow and precedes her full new album, which was produced by French outfit A.​L.​B​.​E​.​R​.​T​. (Beck, Franz Ferdinand) and is released in March.

“The title of the song means when I’m riding my horse,” Laveaux explains. “In a vodou ceremony, when someone is possessed by a spirit, they are that spirit’s horse and the spirit is riding them. It’s also a reference to how vodou is, at times, very erotic.”

Underpinned by sweet guitar lines, it’s Laveaux’s voice that most captivates, dancing its way through the track’s three-and-a-half minutes with a soulful elegance that certainly feels attached to the Haitian roots that she aims to explore through her new work. Check it out right here:

Also released today is one of a series of video clips that delves in to the idea behind Melissa’s new record. As explained in the album’s liner notes: “In April 2016, Mélissa Laveaux headed to Haiti in search of her roots and on a mission to honour her ancestors. Born in Canada to Haitian parents, she did not know what would emerge musically from her pilgrimage although she had a particular interest in the period of American occupation of the island between 1915-1934. Two decades had gone by since she had last set foot in Haiti when she was 12 years old. She felt like a stranger and yet, at the same time, she experienced the thrill of an exile returning home, for Haiti is an intrinsic part of her identity.”

Check out the first of the video series right here:

Mélissa plays London Rich Mix on April 13th – tickets here

‘Radyo Siwèl EP’ feat. Lè Ma Monte is released on February 2nd

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