"Groove Racine"
Rara Machine

CD 68.811

Rara Machine - Groove RacineThe most recent album of famous Haitian Rara Dance band living in New York.

The Band
Clifford Sylvain is bandleader, composer and producer of RARA MACHINE. He was born 1963 in Port-Au-Prince in Haiti and started conga playing and other percussion instruments at age twelve. Living in a family of nine children with a grandfather's history as a brief interim's president of Haiti and a father active as union president, a career as musician was not exactly what was planned for him. While his father was arrested for political reasons Cliff founded his first little band with his brother, named Boffa Combo, which became somewhat famous these days, and Cliff was offered also jobs in many other bands. He worked in USA and Canada, but in the mid-Eighties he decided to concentrate more on studies which he did at the Latin Rhythm School and with Mongo Santamaria.

Later, he gave a short debut in Ska Shah band but that konpa/compas style of music was too old fashioned to him and he became part of the Mizik Rasin movement in Haiti -an orientation back to the roots (=rasin/racine) of Haitian African music. Inspired by the success of other Haitian mizik rasin bands as Boukman Eksperyans Cliff founded Rara Machine, where he combined everything he had personally experienced in voodoo rites in his neighbourhood with the rara festival of African origin and modern pop sounds produced by electric guitar, drums, horns and bass. Rara Machine still uses the large tamboo tubes, the vaccines, which produce a didgeridoo-like sound. Rara machine has only produced a few albums. This is the third.

The Album
After a Short hiatus, Rara Machine returns on the international music scene with undoubtedly its best production yet. This CD, the band's third, concretizes the dream of most Rasin Mizik (Haitian Roots Music) lovers in that it synthesizes a great number of traditional Haitian rhythms with modern sounds to create a much seamless product. Following its own tradition, the band shows with these songs that it is more than a Rasin formation. The interweaving of Jamaican Ska and Yanvalou (Nèg Lakay), Konpa/Soukous (Mama Africa), Kongo/ Funk with a tinge of Konpa and Rap (Ami Love) and Calypso/Latin (Pakatan) denotes not only a considerable degree of knowledge of the plethora of rhythm patterns emanating from many places around the world, but also provides a textbook archetype on how to use them effectively.

In "groove racine", (rah-cine/ french, or rasin/creole), unlike most of its counterparts, Cliff Sylvain -the band's leader and arranger- never allows his music to be completely dominated by the typical 120-BPM (beat per minute)-kick drum, an impediment that has prevented the music of most Haitian Rasin bands from being flexible and dynamic.
Rara Machine's itinerary is an impressive one.
1996 Newport Jazz Festival, Connecticut (USA)
1995 Giant Stadium (USA) and JFK Stadium (USA): the band opened for The Rolling Stones during their Vodou Lounge tour.
1994 Festival de Jazz, Montreal (Canada)
1994 Louisiana Jazz Festival (USA)
1994 Cartagena Jazz Festival, Cartagena (Columbia)
1993 Caribe Festival Jena, Frankfurt, Berlin (Germany)

Using an exciting rhythmic leitmotif for every single cut on 'Groove Racine' Rara Machine proves to be by far the tightest and grooviest Haitian band on the scene today.

Jean Jean-Pierre
March 7, 2000

"...an excellent Rasin CD. This is guaranteed to be non-stop dancing. So rush to your closest music store."
Windows on Haiti, NYC


The Titles

Rara Machine: Groove Racine

1. Millenium Groove 5'17 (Cliff Sylvain)
2. Message 5'36 (Cliff Sylvain)
3. Mama Africa 5'26 (Cliff Sylvain)
4. Bade 2'21
5. Nou Tout se Zanj 8'17 (Cliff Sylvain)
6. Nèg Lakay 5'30 (Cliff Sylvain)
7. Ami Love 4'29 (Cliff Sylvain/Miriam Makeba)
8. Pakatan (Vacance) 5'25 (Cliff Salvain)
9. Racine Accolade 8'35 (Cliff Sylvain)

All songs published by Tropical Music (except 7)
Produced by Cliff Sylvain / Executive Producer: Jean Jean-Pierre
P 2000 Tropical Music GmbH D 35010 Marburg/L
Distributed in Germany by BMG ARIOLA MÜNCHEN /ARIS
Distributed in European Countries exclusively by Tropical Music Distribution Partners

Rasin Accolade is an anthology of some of the most popular Haitian Rasin
tunes. It pays homage to pioneers of the neo-rasin movement like Wawa and
Boukman Eksperyans and others such as Boukan Ginen, Koudjay, Chandèl etc...

'Nèg Lakay' speaks of mistrust emanated from betrayal of friendship.
Why do we laugh and eat with each other, make love to one another
to later double-cross each other?

This cut is a Vodou based solidarity chant. "I'm not gonna denigrate my
brothers and sisters to please the foreigner."

Song of Miriam Makeba

Makossa makossa
makossa makossa makossa

Africa mama Africa dis moi pourquoi on te fait souffrir comme ça
bomb blast in Nairoby
missile strike in Sudan
bloodshed in Tanzania
famine in Somalia
killing in Ethiopia
in Wanda Kinshasa
killing in Algeria, Somalia, Tanzania
killing Sierra Loene, apartheid South Africa
Amadou Diallo tell them to stop
Steve Biko tell them to stop
Nelson Mandela tell them to stop

makossa makossa makossa
arretez la guerre faisons la paix
arretez la guerre faisons la paix

les Zulus sont des frères Africains
les Hutus sont des frères Africains
les Tutsis sont des frères Africains
les Yoruba sont des frères Africains
arretez la guerre, faisons la paix (six times)
les Zulus sont des frères Afficains
les Ibo sont des frères Africains
les Xoras sont des frères Africains
arretez la guerre
mapouka mama, mapouka mapouka cheri li bon (four times)

Mama Africa is a call for brotherhood and a cry for Africans
to stop the infighting. "Mama Africa why do they make suffer so much?"

This "Message" is biblical tale about Moses and the Pharos.

Minokan or Millennium Groove is a fusion of the traditional
Vodou chant with Rap. The author praises all the spirits of the
religion while proudly claiming his parental ties with Pie Danbala (the spirit of water, rainbow and wisdom)."M'se pitit Piè Danbala" "I am the son of Piè Danbala."

P C Tropical Music / All texts copyrighted