P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2002
June 6, 2002
Tabou Combo Plays Haitian Dance Party at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) The true kings of kompas, Tabou Combo will storm MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 6, at 7:30 P.M. for a night of blazing Haitian rhythms combining the energy of Caribbean music with African rhythms. The infectious beat gets in the bones and wills audiences to the dance floor. The uninitiated won't be left guessing as Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival arranges dance instruction starting at 7:30.
"Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo," according to drummer and founding member Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti's national dance music, kompas, has propelled the country's preeminent dance band around the world. The group's relentless and high-energy style knows no language barrier -- the group sings in English, Spanish, French or their native Creole. Their music combines the Dominican Republic's national dance music, Merengue, with Haiti's dance-till-you-drop carnival music, rara, the hypnotic drums of Haitian voodoo rituals, the quadrilles and contra-dances from Haiti's French colonizers and funk from the American soul era. The music includes the feel of West African Soukous topped with bright piano riff and the brassy sound of an all-American horn section.
Tabou Combo started in 1967 in Petion-Ville, just outside Port-au-Prince, by Albert Chancy and Herman Nau with friends when they were in their teens. They adopted the name Tabou (or "sacred" in Creole) Combo in 1969. That year the band won first prize in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation. When Chancy's parents sent him to college in Montreal the group dissolved, and the members drifted to the United States. An unexpected meeting in 1971 led to a reunion and the band, with a few personnel changes, has been together ever since. Their 1989 release, Aux Intilles (The Antilles), topped European and Caribbean charts for six consecutive weeks and won Best Album for Haitian Dance Music at the 1991 Caribbean Music Awards at New York City's famed Apollo Theater. Kitem Fe Zafem (Let Me Do My Things) was on Beat Magazine's "Best of" list in 1988. Since then they've been attracting thousands of fans at concert halls like the Zenith in Paris and accepting invitations to appear at the United Nations in New York. Tabou had already established itself as Haiti's number one group before relocating to New York City. Tabou Combo now has a worldwide following including London, Paris, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, South America, and throughout the Caribbean and North America.
Drummer Herman Nau is responsible for incorporating Brazilian somba and rock rhythms into kompas. Nau does double duty in the band helping out on vocals and also dominating the rhythm with the hard drumming that has earned him the reputation as Haiti's strongest drummer. According to Herman, "The richest rhythms in the world come from Africa and the Caribbean. In Haiti alone, there are 71 different rhythms and each has a different meaning." Haiti has no shortage of great singers, and lead vocalist Roger M. Eug¸ne (Shoubou) croons with the best of them switching gears with ease to generate excitement and electricity. Yves Joseph (Fanfan) sings back vocals in the call-and-response tradition. Also singing backup vocals is percussionist songwriter Yvon Andrˇ (Kapi). Shoubou, Fanfan, Kapi and Nau have been with Tabou since it was formed in 1967. The newer members include bass-guitarist Yves Albert Abel (Radical); lead guitarist Ralph Conde, formerly of Papash and Vag; rhythm guitarist Jean-Claude Jean, another original member of the band; Daniel Pierre (Dany Lebeau) on keyboard; and Raynald Valme (Sexy Man) on congas. Tabou Combo also includes an all-American horn section: trombonist Jason Forsythe, Tom Mitchell on tenor sax and Ken Scharf on trumpet.
Tickets to the Haitian Dance Party are $12 for adults, $6 for kids. MASS MoCA members get 10% off. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org. A full Haitian-influenced dinner will be available starting at 7 P.M. when the doors open.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on a 13- acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA focuses on the work of visual and performing artists charting new territory.
For Immediate Release