I will never know, I mean KNOW, what a lakou is, in the same way that a Haitian will. It is a backyard, a coming together, a process, a form, a spirit. It is a community and a memory of communities stretching back through time all the way to the only successful slave revolution in recorded history and beyond. A summation and a celebration. It’s also just a freakin’ party, where all the significance of what Lakou means ends up in the bottom of a bottle of rum.
Lakou Mizik built itself as an experiment of sorts, coming out of 2010’s Haiti earthquake with a purpose, to revisit traditional Haitian music and recast it for a world pop culture tied to YouTube, not radios. In full disclosure I know this band, or they at least they know my house, as I hosted them for dinner (and yes, rum), a road-weary touring unit criss-crossing the states. The songs they sang in my living room included this gem, a homebrew version of “Gaya,” a raveup with Michael Brun that otherwise looks like this:
Their lone LP Wa Di Yo is the ultimate lakou. The beautiful “Pran Ka Mwen,” featuring vocalist Nadine Remy and Steeve Valcourt’s gorgeous guitar, and a chorus of cornets and percussion, is the gem in the goldmine (well, then there’s “Poze” …). This is joy drawn from the ashes, as brave a get down as any I can think of.
“I came on earth to live in peace
Down here on earth, we are all one”
Lakou Mizik: https://www.lakoumizik.com/home