In a world where doubts are constantly being raised about the authenticity of the body parts of some of the most glamorous women in the media, the group Harmonik has taken it upon itself to praise the female sex on being “Naturel”…or natural. This song is one of many refreshing tracks to be found on the group’s album Diferan . “Naturel” tells the story of girls who hop into the club with mutant-seeming body parts that raise eyebrows. It also recounts the hair-raising moments everyday guys with names like Jean-Luc and Alain face when their respective girlfriends surprise them with breast augmentation jobs.
M’prefere lè lè li natirèl
Original se li ki pi bon…
I like it natural
You’re better off with what you were born with
It’s really touching to see guys encouraging women to love their bodies and scoff those who go to extremes to achieve ideal beauty.
If “Naturel” is about preaching self-love, self-acceptance, and self-contentment to the female gender, “Ou Se” (You Are…) ought to be called a psalm of sort, a psalm in the ears a woman—from a guy who absolutely adores her. The lyrics of the song are backed up by a really syrupy melody, and contain all these cute little metaphors. And plenty of vulnerability! Co-lead singer Mackendy “Mac D” Talon sings:
Mwen fè’w kado tout nanm mwen…
Ou ba nanm mwen manje
Ou se somèy
Ou banm aspirasyon viv
Pa gen yon bout nan mwen ou pa wè
Paske mwen ba wou tout sa’m genyen
I’m wholeheartedly handing my soul over to you
You feed my soul
You’re my sleep
You make me wanna live
There’s not one side of me you haven’t seen
‘Cause I’ve given you all I have
Si’w wè pye’m chape
Kite mele’m kite’m tonbe pou ou…
Si wè’m aji tankou yon ti bebe
Se paske mwen danmou
Ou se mèt mwen, ou se propriyete’m
Ou se klète obskirite’m
If I trip
Who cares—I gladly fall over you
If I’m acting like some little baby
It’s because I’m in love
You’re my master, and my legal and rightful owner
You’re the light that brightens up my darkness
And if “Ou Se” is indeed a psalm, “Mèsi” is a prayer of gratitude at the feet of a loving woman. “Mèsi” [Thank You] is undoubtedly the anthem of every man and woman whose heart was hacked to pieces by a bad romance, and who swore off love—supposedly forever—only to find the true love that makes them backtrack on their promise never to fall in love again. Here is a sample of the lyrics as sung by co-lead singer Sanders Solon:
Ou montre mwen tout fi pa menm
Ou fè’m rekwe nan lanmou
Ou fè mwen wè lanmou yon lòt jan
You showed me every girl isn’t the same
You’ve made me believe in love again
You’ve helped me see love from a different angle
More than anything, the song is about the importance of expressing gratitude to that special person in our lives.
The oddball on Diferan, “Apa’w Fache” (So, You’re Mad) serves as a sort of self-booster track for the group Harmonick. It’s about putting haters in their place, one of those you-ain’t-seen-nothing-yet type of tracks, and features another performer by the name of Shabba.
“Ou Pa Ka Hang” (You Can’t Hang) has nothing to do with romance. It calls out senseless club denizens on their foolishness and on their vain attempts to get women’s attention by trying to impress them with faux VIP status.
So much anguish, so much moaning and groaning is conveyed “Otan” (Enough). The song comes across as truly a perfect fit for co-lead singer Mac D, as his voice seems to have a lot of built-in hurt and pain. The setting for “Otan”? A relationship that’s more like a misery-ship. There’s plenty of distrust, agony, lack of communication, and there’s some indication that there could just be infidelity involved. Deterioration is just around the corner, one suspects. Listen to these words:
Mwen pa konn antre’w, mwen pa konn soti’w…
Se pa konsa nou te komanse
Di mwen kote sa mal pase-o
Don’t know when you come in, don’t know when you leave
This ain’t how it was towards the beginning
Tell me where we went wrong
Ou fè tout sa ou vle, san yon retisans
Pitò ou repanse
You do whatever you feel like, without as much as a little restraint
Looks to me like you need to rethink things a bit
Now, the woes of love are forgotten when the song “Illegal” makes its entrance.
Chak fwa mwen tande vwa’w
Se kòmsi Bondye kap pale, e fòm tande
Every time I hear your voice
It’s like God speaking to me and I have no choice but to listen
Oh! Now, that’s some love!
Tout sa mwen vle fè’w
Mwen pral fè ou ilegal
Everything I’m wanting to do with you
Everything I’m going to do isn’t exactly legal
Mwen pral fè’w deraye, debòde, depale…
Mwen pral fè’w site non mwen pou tout latè tande
I’m going to make you go haywire, go crazy, and stutter
I’m going to make you shout my name for everyone around the globe to hear
Listening to this “Illegal”, I couldn’t help but think of “I’m a Freak”, and “Ill Nana”—two songs by the group Carimi—and draw contrasts. Whereas those two aforementioned songs are about exploiting a woman for a tryst, “Illegal” is about sharing tender moments in a monogamous relationship. The woman is truly given respect as an equal partner in “Illegal”, whereas in “I’m a Freak” and “Ill Nana”, the treatment she receives hinders on disrespect.
Diferan—the album’s title track—is well, different. Its storyline is about the neighborhood ugly duckling who sets his sight on the most beautiful and popular girl around. This song is really original, lyrical-wise. Men can be as insecure as they want to be, but they are not expected to verbalize it. But listening to the lyrics as sung by Mac D, “Diferan” shows that not only is it alright for men to be insecure about their looks, but there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with them conveying it with utter honesty to a woman.
Mwen pa flannè, ni mwen pa konn abiye
Men mwen konesans ak la rezon…
Gade nan kè’m wa wè
I am by no means a dandy, and I can’t dress to save my life
But I’m smart, and I’m pretty reasonable…
Look directly in my heart, and you’ll see
“Bèl Ti Moman” (Good Times), sung by a third lead singer Nickenson Prud’homme, delineates all those relationships we continuously hold on to, no matter how toxic they are, just because can’t let go of a few, isolated happy moments. In the end, those relationships have to be let go slowly but surely, as the rare glorious moments cannot really override the emotional damage done by less happier moments.
Looking for a song laced with plenty of begging, supplication, and more begging? “Mwen Bouke” (I’m Had It Up to Here) is your track! What a song! A cheater confessed, and he was forgiven, or so he thought. She had sworn him forgiveness, but every time she thinks of his betrayal, she can’t help but feel stabbed at the heart again! What more can he say to be forgiven, what more! Yeah, it’s easy for him to say! He wasn’t the one who received the emotional blow of being cheated on. Singer Mac D sings:
Cheri mwen bouke, mwen bouke sipliye
Ba’m yon chans pou’m met lanmou’m a levidans
Sispann releve yon pènn ki aleje
Mwen bouke mande’w
Babes, I’m tired of doing all this begging
Give me the opportunity to show you how much I love you
Stop trying to open the scabs of a wound that’s healing
I’m tired of asking…
Asking for you to forgive me
Ooh, all that begging! Ooh! And the voice of the singer is so aggrieved, so sorrowful, so repentant, so passionate, you want to sign a petition to ask this girl to please, please find it in her heart somehow to forgive his trespasses. He’s bouke!
“Diferan” ends on an open-ended note. Let’s hope that the ugly toad gets the pretty girl, and that the cheater in “Mwen Bouke” is dumped for good. But, we do leave in a topsy-turvy world, so most likely the pretty and popular girl will continue to be haughty and write off the good guy and the girl being supplicated in “Mwen Bouke” might forgive completely, only to be on cheated again.
But to the credit of the cheater in “Mwen Bouke”, he does sound repentant, and he’s hard at work trying to make amends. Shall we revisit the song again?
Years have gone by
I thought you’d change
Baby, I’m tired
I’m not asking you to forgive me overnight
I’m doing my best not to bring you any more pain
I don’t know who to pray to anymore to get you to forgive me
I get a feeling that you’re getting some sick pleasure out of driving me crazy
I’m fed up with saying sorry
I’m tormented over the fact that you don’t want me anymore
What more can I say, so you can take me back
You’ve walked all over my heart, as it is
Just let it go
Mwen pa twompe’w ankò…
Tout sa pa sifi
Pou dat mwen prizonye’w
Mete’w sou yon pedestal
Tout sa pa sifi
Finalman, mwen bouke
I’m not cheating on you anymore
And that’s still not enough
I’ve been your prisoner for a minute
I’ve put you above everything
And yet, none of that is enough
At this point, I’m fed up
It’s hard to forget the dazzling “Mwen Bouke”, with its graceful melody and superb arrangements. The vocal skills of Solon, and Talon are utilized effectively. There’s a lot of passion in the voices of these singers, as if they’ve both lived the story that the song chronicles.
The three singers that make up Harmonik—Prud’homme, Solon, and Talon—are three pretty boys, but they are pretty boys who can sing, and sing fairly well. The album Diferan is oh, so romantic.The finger-pointing, and excessive woman-blaming is at a reasonable level. The melodies are rather sweet, and the songwriting is by no means hackneyed. The songwriters who worked on the album truly found new ways to convey the intricacies of love, and the song “Diferan” is one of the best examples of this. Between “Mèsi”, “Otan”, “Bèl Ti Moman”, “Mwen Bouke”, Diferan has enough tracks to fill the life of the average romantic with a soundtrack for every stage of love, whether it’s grieving loss of love, the positives of love, and the most intimate moments of a relationship.
Come on you guys, let’s do our best to support Haitian music. Be sure to visit the Harmonik band on Facebook! And on their fan page. Purchase their album on Amazon, CD Baby or iTunes. Check out their YouTube channel.