Keeping tradition alive with Haiti’s Lakou Mizik



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One of my most popular posts was about Haitian roots music including Racine, Kompa, and Twoubadou. Haitian music holds a place in my heart so when I recently got a newsletter from Cumbancha sharing about Lakou Mizik, I knew I had to share about them. They are a collective of Haitian musicians who are infusing Haitian roots music with modern sounds. The music is really special and I encourage you to consider supporting to their album project.

Boogaloo Baby…



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I recently heard this LA band, The Boogaloo Assassins, reviving the boogaloo tradition of the 60s and 70s, and I was instantly in love. My mom and dad introduced me to the boogaloo tradition when I was a kid. My mom loved Mongo Santamaria and my dad would always play “El Watusi” by Ray Barretto. When I lived in NYC in the mid-90s, while hip-hop and dancehall was everywhere, there was significant old-school salsa and boogaloo being played in the clubs. Recently, I saw the (great) movie “Chef” and the soundtrack paid homage to this classic music with Pete Rodriguez (below) and Willie Colon among others – definitely check out the movie and the soundtrack.

Wikipedia describes the development of Boogaloo as the following: “In the 1950s and ’60s, African Americans in the United States listened to various styles of music, including jump blues, R&B and doo-wop. Puerto Ricans in New York City shared these tastes, but they also listened to genres like mambo or chachachá and Bossa Nova. There was a mixing of Puerto Ricans, Cubans, African Americans and others in clubs, whose bands tried to find common musical ground. Boogaloo was a result of this search, a marriage of many styles including Cuban son montuno, guaguancó, guajira, guaracha, mambo, and American R&B and soul.”

Enjoy the rootsy sounds of boogaloo! We will start off with the classic party song “I Like It Like That” by Pete Rodriguez:

The inimitable Ray Barretto with “El Watusi”:

Legendary Mongo Santamaria with “Mi Reina Guarija (Bésame Mamá)”:

And here is my personal favorite of all time, “Either You Have It or You Don’t” By Charlie Palmieri (Eddie’s brother):

Long-live-boogaloo

Magic Sam: All my love

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Chicago guitar player by way of Mississippi, Samuel “Magic Sam” Gene Maghett lived a short life (February 14, 1937 – December 1, 1969), but left a legacy of sweet soul blues. His guitar playing so unique for the time that the prolific blues songwriter Willie Dixon said of him, “Magic Sam had a different guitar sound…Most of the guys were playing the straight 12-bar blues thing, but the harmonies that he carried with the chords was a different thing altogether. This tune ‘All Your Love’, he expressed with such an inspirational feeling with his high voice. You could always tell him, even from his introduction to the music.”

Check out this tune and feel “All Your Love”:

Here he is with some slow blues, “My Love Will Never Die”:

An upbeat boogie “I Wanna Boogie”: