If you’re an Afropop regular, you’ve probably already heard some fresh sounds from the ebullient Haitian collective Lakou Mizik. A few months ago we were blown away by their fantastic live set at the Alliance Francaise and have had their recent record, Wa Di Yo, in the frequently played CD stack in the Afropop office since its release. The group describes themselves as “a multigenerational collective of Haitian musicians formed in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. [Lakou Mizik] includes elder legends and rising young talents, united in a mission to honor the healing spirit of their collective culture and communicate a message of pride, strength and hope to their countrymen and the world.”
Today we’re pleased to bring you a music video premiere of “Pran Ka Mwen,” a song from Wa Di Yo that carries that message. The folks from Cumbancha, the label that released the album, have this to say about the song: “The song ‘Pran Ka Mwen’ was adapted and updated from an old song sung by a woman named Francilia and recorded by the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax in 1935. In Haitian Kreyol ‘Pran Ka Mwen’ means ‘take care of me’ and the lyrics of the song brings all levels of society together, letting us all know that no matter what our station in life we are an important piece of the fabric of our communities and can only survive if we take care of one another.”
Besides the bright, beautiful, sunny sounds that this group shares in this song, the video itself is something particularly special, a product of the kind of partnership, mutual support and hope that Lakou Mizik espouses. Cumbancha tells us that “the official video for ‘Pran Ka Mwen’ was conceived, produced and directed by graduating students from Cine Institute, Haiti’s only film school. Cine Institute is a division of Artists Institute, a scholarship-based school focused on developing Haiti’s creative economy through professional training in filmmaking, audio engineering and music production. Lakou Mizik was honored to work with these talented young artists to realize this video.” Cool!
The Artists Institute is the hub of a burgeoning network of skilled Haitian artists centered around Jacmel, the city where it is based. Learn more about Artists Institute and how you can support their important work here: http://www.artistsinstitute.org.
If you dig the music and want more, visit http://www.lakoumizik.com or http://www.cumbancha.com/lakoumizik/ to purchase “Pran Ka Mwen” or, better yet, the whole album Wa Di Yo, and to learn more about the band.