Mélissa Laveaux ‘Radyo Siwèl’ (Nø Førmat!) 3/5

Mélissa Laveaux is in search of a lost past.

Born to Haitian parents in Ottowa, Canada, her Creole culture wasn’t something which was talked about in her household. Some years later, in Paris, Laveaux is putting that right.

On an album as globally encompassing as her passport, she succeeds in exploring voodoo rhythm, Haitian folklore, and calypso, mixed with a French sultriness. This is not an album full of self-regret and longing, a trap easily fallen into by artists who have put something down somewhere and forgotten its exact location. This is a full blown of celebration of re-discovered roots and new horizons.

Instead of smacking with desperation, the music smacks joyfully with juxtaposition. Shimmering guitars rain down whilst Laveaux sings about Haiti’s occupying parties, lilting through a history of American rule between 1915 to 1936. She perfectly encompasses the Haitian culture; resilience, colour, strength in spirit.

Radyo Siwèl is out tomorrow on Nø Førmat!.

Sam Turnell