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cd cover RAM
RAM6: Manman M Se Ginen(artist release)
cdRoots Code: rwm-ram

These rhythms don't walk alone," insists Richard Morse of Haiti's powerhouse band RAM. "They come with melodies and songs and spirits and knowledge. They come with rituals, says Richard Morse, leader of the Port au Prince band RAM. The Haitian ensemble's 6th album is a fine piece of work, fusing local instruments and rhythms with contemporary enrgey and politics. This is a RootsWorld 'Music of the Month' selection.

   

Listen:

"Papa Loko"

"Koulou Koulou"

"Jije'm Byen"

"Ipokrit"

More info:
These rhythms don't walk alone," insists Richard Morse of Haiti's powerhouse band RAM. "They come with melodies and songs and spirits and knowledge. They come with rituals, says Richard Morse, leader of the Port au Prince band RAM.

But you can give them your own spin, which is what the groundbreaking, wildly popular Haitian group has done for decades. While racking up huge Carnival hits, RAM remains passionately dedicated to the ceremonial music and wisdom, the compelling spiritual and sonic expression with roots in African, European, and indigenous Caribbean culture and belief. It all dances together on RAM 6: Manman m se Ginen (release: February 5, 2016), the band's first studio album in ten years.

Funky guitars and keys blend with centuries-old invocations of aristocratic cemetery spirits in top hats ("Mon Konpe Gede"), or of the hummingbird spirit of the forest ("Kolibri"). The long-form vamps and jams the band is known for live are condensed into beautiful bursts, without losing energy or dynamic shifts, just as RAM goes electric and expands the arrangements of what are often spare traditional accompaniments without losing sight of the songs' origins.

"This generation is electric. But the rhythms are traditional," explains Morse. "The melodies are traditional. We have taken the ceremonial and mixed with the street. That's when you hear the rara horns," a mix that leaps out on tracks like "Papa Loko." "We've added street music to a band, and taken more arranged band stuff out into the streets."

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