Go tell your ex-wife by dadogo, Quick Draw By Aya Nakamura… But where do the Afro-Caribbean dance sounds in which these pieces come from? No, not just a taste, but a compass too (Konba in Creole) straight from Haiti. A musical genre that has not stopped regenerating since its inception in 1957 with groups such as Karimi. Founded in 2001 by three friends, Carlo Vieux, Richard Caffe and Michel Girand, Karemi has made Haitian music shine all over the world, with songs that speak of love and the difficult situation of their country (Yeti / bang bang).
After their separation since 2016, the trio will meet again this Saturday at the Accor Arena for a one-on-one date, marking their 20-year run, which has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Afro-Caribbean sounds (such as zouk and konpa) are heard in the French music industry, they come back for 20 minutes On the weight of their heritage, the joy of returning to the stage and addressing the recent violence in Haiti.
There were a lot of rumors about your big comeback. How do you imagine this meeting after six years of your separation?
Michael Gerand: Carimi is a project of three heart-wrenching friends. We have made many sacrifices. Our bond was really strong. Separation was hard for all of us. Having a chance to relive this moment is truly extraordinary. It brings back a lot of feelings, until fans wait for it so hard, to get their love.
Charles Old: Even after Karimi broke up, we discussed it a lot with Richard. We knew the meeting was going to happen. It took us a long time because Richard and Michael have their own band now, so they had to organize. Karimi’s 20th birthday was just the right time. I think it will be a very big success. People are so excited to see us back on stage. This Saturday, I think it’s going to be a very good time we’re going to spend with the fans, maybe for the last time.
Richard How: We will be the first Haitian group to fill out Percy alone. We’ve done it with groups, but we’ll just be. We will be the first and this is unusual.
How have you faced having your show postponed twice due to Covid-19?
Charles Old: We were disappointed, as we did not want to postpone the date twice. With Richard and Michael living in New York, me in Miami and our musicians everywhere, it wasn’t easy getting everyone together. When activities resumed after the pandemic, the number of people accepted into Percy was really limited, so we had to postpone again because we really wanted to sell.
Michael Gerand: covid hot. Just getting through that moment, it was hard. We have lost a lot of people and personalities in the world of music (Jacob Desvariaux from Cassave, Isnard Dube from System Band…). Being alive today is already a blessing. We have experienced the delay with great sadness. We had to wait and were finally in a position to prepare for the party. Most of the musicians out there are original musicians. We spent a lot of time preparing for the party.
Richard How: Yes, procrastination bothered us on the one hand, but it suited us on the other.
Michael Gerand: We will try to give people something good that lives up to their expectations.
Karemi, one of the faces of Haitian music: How did you take on this responsibility?
Charles Old : I think that we must above all remain humble, lest it go into our heads. There are artists who at some point think they are more than God, but Richard and Michael and I are simple people. We love connecting with the public and I think that’s also been our strength, and people have appreciated a lot for that. We already know that the work we do is not only for us, but also for Haitian culture. We had that in mind, to enhance our culture. That was our main goal and we did it to the end.
Richard how : This is the difference when you do things for love. We are aware that what we have done, that our songs have had an extraordinary impact on Haitian society. The pieces I was able to compose of affected people, their romantic relationships. I am indirectly responsible.
Michael Jeran : When I stopped Karimi I was told in several interviews: “How dare you? Karimi is a national heritage that does not belong to you.” This means that Carimi was very important to society, and depriving them of such a group is a bold thing on our part. How does disappearing a group of this size bring so much happiness? Today, we try to reform even if there will always be people who will have a bitter taste, there will be others who will have some satisfaction.
In the face of the security crisis and the cholera epidemic, how do you see the current situation in Haiti?
Charles Old : I haven’t lived in Haiti since 1997. It’s very difficult. Now I can’t go back to live in my country, play in my country, and go on vacation in my country because there are security and kidnapping issues. I wish the politicians would try to find a solution to the problems, because the “capable people” would leave and leave the country with the “unable people”. I think so far our music Aity, bang bang topical [sortie en 2011, elle décrit la situation sociopolitique du pays en proie à l’insécurité, la misère, l’armement des ghettos ou encore les assassinats]Nothing has changed since its release. It’s a difficult and sad situation for me as an artist and as a Haitian.
Michael Jeran We have fans all over the world and everywhere we go we wave the Haitian flag. It is always difficult to have this negative connotation or problems associated with our country. We have a lot of beautiful riches, beautiful things to show, and an extraordinary culture…but there is a double face to manage. We hope the country will pass this bad moment. We’re just here for a moment. We wish the best for future generations. We can keep doing what we know how to do and inspire them.
Richard how : Personally, I am the only one in my family who lives in the United States. My mom and dad are in Haiti. I talk to them every day in a WhatsApp group chat. There are days my mom would tell me “we’re not going out today, everything is closed” or “someone has been kidnapped”. At some point, you start saving money in the event of a hijacking. It’s very scary. My parents cannot leave Haiti, they do not have American citizenship. And then, the question is not to get everyone to leave the country and leave it in this state… My first home in Haiti. Difficult.
NaikamusicAnd the Joe Duett Philly [compositeur de Va dire à ton ex de Dadju]And the OswaldAnd the Felicia Ros…a new generation of emerging Haitian artists. Is succession guaranteed?
Richard How: Oswald is a friend, I love what he does. Felicia has an extraordinary charm. They do extraordinary things. Then it is another concept is not to focus on one of them space saver [il y a beaucoup de groupes en Haïti comme Carimi, Tabou Combo, T-Vice, etc.] But to be a solo artist. They sing live and have talent and don’t need technology to show it. It’s a beautiful sequence. I am proud to own them.
Charles Old : I think these artists bring another color to Haitian music, like we came in 2001 to show new ways of playing. I believe the succession is assured, I am not afraid and I am very satisfied with what I hear.
Michael Jeran : Recently I was listening to a song by Karimi that said, yo de konba en danji (“They say the compass is in danger”), but there is a relief. At one time, the next generation was us. Today, even if our career is not over, we have played our part and continue to push boundaries. I hope they will go further, learn from our trials and errors and push harder. Haitian music is very rich and still unexplored. We know many other trends, especially now with the advent of Afro music. I hope that the artists of tomorrow will benefit from this, with the advantages they have today.
Karimi, is it really over? What are your future plans?
Charles Old : We just wanted to focus on the fifteenth of October. Richard and Michael have their own group. Personally, I took another path that had nothing to do with music [il travaille dans le secteur de la data analytics intelligence] And I’m very happy with what I’m doing. I spend a lot of time with my family and I don’t want to go back. Do you have gigs with like saturday? This is possible, but not certain. We’ll see… and maybe even the last album…
Richard how : This meeting taught us a lot. We didn’t talk much. We’ve experienced things we haven’t experienced for six years and realize we’re good about ourselves. Karemi Foundation, you won’t die, but we won’t keep playing every weekend before. For my part, I had an exceptional year with my Kaï group. We did about 118 dates and next weekend I play in Arkansas (in the US). It really came true and I’m blessed.
Michael Jeran : To say that Carimi is finished is a lie. To say it’s not over is a lie. I think our history is a book that continues to be written, and that today we are in the classroom where we are trying to reconnect, on all levels. Carimi will not happen full time. But if opportunities arise, we will consider them. With my two Vayb groups, we are in the process of finalizing our album. Since Covid-19, we have not played in Paris, so we will announce a date soon. Then we’ll see how it goes…
#work #Haitian #culture #Carimi #Group