Haitian EDM star Michael Brun made a playlist to school you on Haitian dance music
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the young DJ/producer Michael Brun has found a second home in the dance music world—where he’s been establishing himself as an A-list-worthy talent though official remixes for Tiesto, Calvin Harris and Alicia Keys, as well as festival appearances at Coachella and Ultra. His trademark style involves blending big-room EDM with the unique sounds and rhythms of Haitian music, producing a hybrid that offers a strong rebuke to the common gripe about all dance music sounding the same.
In order to give listeners a little more insight into his influences, Brun has made EW a playlist of Haitian bangers—including one by his dad’s old band and one by the current president of Haiti.
RAM – “Ibo Lele”
RAM’s “Ibo Lele” is iconic for its use of traditional Haitian roots music with English language lyrics. It was even used in the Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington movie Philadelphia.
King Posse – “Cool Non”
“Cool No” by King Posse reminds me so much of my childhood, with its call and response vocal. It was one of those songs that you would hear during every party growing up, and all the kids knew the dance moves.
J. Perry feat. Izolan & Shabba – “Dekole”
“Dekole” is one of the most recent major Haitian hits that combines a number of styles, including modern electronic dance music and Haitian rara music.
Wyclef Jean – “Touch Your Button”
Wyclef included this track on his Carnival Vol. 2 which was probably one of the most mainstream uses of Haitian Kanaval music (as well as other forms of carnival music from around the world).
T-Vice – “Tu Me Touches”
A classic example of Konpa musi,c which is a slower variety of Haitian dance music that focuses on dancing with a partner.
Bouman Eksperyans – “Ke’m Pa Sote”
This is a classic Kanaval song from the early ’90s that combines elements of Rara street music and Haitian roots music with more pop-based melodies.
Sweet Micky – “Cocorico”
An interesting fact about Sweet Micky is that not only was he an accomplished Haitian pop musician with a number of local hits like Cocorico, but he is also the current president of the island.
Skandal – “Zwazo”
My father’s band Skandal was notable for combining Haitian Konpa and zouk music with elements of pop and electronica. This is one of my personal favorites from their debut album.