As a recognized fake Jamaican it is with some pride that I have noted the swiftness and lack of hesitation that West Indians in general and Jamaicans in particular jumped in to help out Haiti in their hour of need. But even in Jamaica, where the pace of music production is always set to rapid-fire—Sizzla just released his 39th album by my count, and I’m pretty sure I missed a few—it takes doopses a week or so to write, record, mix and distribute a decent 45 documenting a natural disaster, expressing solidarity and examining the emotion of the moment. Which is why I’m doing the Bidonville Palms edition this week.
GP85 Bidonville Palms Blend
RockFam, “Alaso (Hommage aux Grenadiers d’Haiti)”
Admiral T, “Ya Pa Enme”
Congo, “Drummers of the Societe Absolument Guinin”
Busy Signal and Machel Montano, “Whooii Gal Whooii”
Download: Ghetto Palms Bidonville Palms Blend
Also, because it’s a good excuse to spread more info on how to contribute to the cause, I already consolidated and blasted a lot of Haiti info on the Caribbean section of Okayplayer.com, but since the popularity of donating through Wyclef’s Yele organization has raised some, uh, concerns, it is worth revisiting the options. One of the best seems to be the community-based Zanmi Lasante aka Partners in Health, who I’ve heard about from several sources (Dutty Chutney crew in Philly: I see you. Ethiopian gal who runs Bidonville Café in BK: I see you). Hit em up.
It was also an excuse to mix up the best of the tributes with my favorites of the Haitian and proto-Haitian jams circulating on Masalacism and Ghetto Bassquake recently—and I threw in the Busy and Machel joint just because it’s my shit and by its very nature captures the current flash of pan-Caribbean spirit like a Hothead Belafonte.
Let’s not get it twisted: you shouldn’t check out Haitian music just cause they just caught the worst kind of worldwide attention, you should check it because the music is vibrant and amazing. And you shouldn’t donate to the relief effort because Haiti has amazing music and culture but because it is a necessary and redemptive act. But, like the man said, never let a crisis go to waste.
Download: Silver Cat & Hero, "Haiti Cry"
Download: Wasp, "Cry fi Haiti"