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Twouba Eden Fel (English)

Troubadour, or Twoubadou, as it is properly written in kreyol, is the classic sound of backyard barbecues, family parties and corner bars. Typically featuring guitar, banjo, marimbula, maracas and a single drum, twoubadou music is a vehicle for messages familiar to all lovers of the blues. As Sylvain Vilsaint, the leader of Twouba Eden Fel, puts it, we sing about all kinds of subjects, because we Haitians, we live in a lot of misery, and all the misery we experience, we sing about it; we have a song for it. In a tune that is probably called Pa Kritike’m, Don’t Criticize Me, he sings, essentially: Even if you see me sitting here in misery, don’t criticize me. I’m not just sitting here letting life pass me by. It’s a dog eat dog world. In Tout moun Se Moun, Everyone is a Person, he describes one of his four arrests and maltreatment at the hands of the authorities: I was just sitting there, me and about eight guys, playing dominoes, and the police came and arrested us. They put me in a cell. They had another guy sleeping right on top of me. My mother’s dead, I had nobody to call.

In this recording, Vilsaint and some of his musicians visited the Radyo Shak for a brief interview and on-air performance. Next, Eden Fel are recorded playing in the Ghetto Biennale lakou that evening, a raucous concert during which large quantities of klerin, or cane liquor, were consumed. Plagued with technical difficulties and an antique, rudimentary amplifier with a broken reverb control, Vilsaint ultimately amplified his guitar by holding a car-stereo speaker against the body, with near-psychedelic results.


Ghetto Biennale: Radyo Shak


Radyo Shak was the independent broadcast voice of the Ghetto Biennale of Haiti, hosting freeform radio including Rara bands, locals, artists and writers, and Haitian revolutionary history.