“Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo,” says Tabou Combo’s co-founder and ex-drummer Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music, Konpa (con-pah), has propelled the country’s preeminent dance band around the world. The 12 members of the band have covered many territories since leaving Haiti and relocating to New York City in 1971. By that time, Tabou had already established itself as Haiti’s number one group, and as the “Ambassadors of Konpa.” Tabou Combo now has worldwide fans and followers from London to Paris, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, South America, throughout the Caribbean and in North America.
It is easy to understand why Tabou Combo’s relentless and high-energy style of Compas dance beat knows no language barrier. Singing in English, Spanish, French or their native Creole, Tabou serves a hot mix of grooves and textures with roots from around the world. You will hear a strong dose of the Dominican Republic’s national dance music, meringue. In addition, there is Haiti’s dance-till-you-drop carnival music, rara, the hypnotic drums of Haitian voodoo rituals. Add to that quadrilles and contra-dances from Haiti’s French colonizers and funk from the American soul era to James Brown for good measure. The mixture of all these influences makes for a serious bass line that brings new meaning to the word bottom; layer upon layer of accents courtesy of drums, percussion and congas; the constant intertwining of two guitars with the feel of West African Soukous topped with bright piano riff and the brassy sound of a 3-man horn section.
Employing the repetition and breaks of Afro-American gospel music, TABOU COMBO entices the listener to become listener and dancer. Almost four decades after TABOU COMBO’s establishment, the band has audiences dancing everywhere from concert halls to the streets and in night clubs around the world. Says Fanfan, the band’s background vocalist and main songwriter, “We want people to dance and forget their sorrows.”
Emeline Michel is the reigning Queen of Haitian Song: a captivating performer, versatile vocalist and one of the premier Haitian songwriters of her generation. She has recorded and appeared on concert stages throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and North & South America for over 20 years. Singing both in French and Haitian Creole, Emeline’s nine albums, Douvanjou ka leve (May the Sun Rise), Pa gen manti nan sa (There’s No Doubt), Rhum & Flamme (Rum & Flame), Tout Mon Temps (All My Time), The Very Best, Ban’m pase (Let Me Pass), Cordes et Ame (Strings and Soul), Rasin Kreyol (Creole Roots), and Reine de Coeur (Queen of Hearts) have catapulted her to international acclaim.
Emeline Michel is beloved by Haitians for combining traditional rhythms with social, political and inspirational content. She emphasizes complex themes, conscious lyrics, and a broad palette of musical styles, including the native Haitian compas, twoubadou and rara. She dances, sings, and does all with style, grace and pride. in 2006 she was commissioned by President Bill Clinton to perform at his annual 2000+ attended fundraiser. She has performed at venues worldwide including but not limiting to, the Lincoln Center, Schomburg, Carnegie Hall and the Flagey Theater in Brussels to name a few. She is a true representation of the best that Haiti has to offer.