Vo-Duo

Vo-Duo

 New York City, New York, USA
BandJazzWorld

Inspired by the rhythms and chants of the sacred Vodou music traditions of Haiti, guitarist/vocalist extraordinaire Monvelyno Alexis and renowned percussionist Markus Schwartz incorporate elements of "Mizik Rasin", Jazz and Rock into a uniquely original modern improvisational duo.

Biography

Born in Copenhagen Denmark, percussionist Markus Schwartz grew up in an American household surrounded by jazz, and has devoted the last twenty years to learning the wealth and complexity of traditional Haitian drum music. Moving in and out of Haiti since the early 1990s, Markus followed the lead of Haitian percussionists on pilgrimages into the countryside to learn the intricate and powerful Vodou drums. Markus was a founding member of the ground-breaking Haitian Jazz quintet Mozayik and the Buyu Ambroise & Blues in Red Band, Markus has recorded and/or performed around the world with many of Haiti's finest musicians, including “Queen of Haitian Song” Emeline Michel and Hip-Hop superstar Wyclef Jean.

In late 2008, Markus recorded a "solo" project featuring an all-star cast of invited guests Tanbou nan Lakou Brooklyn/Haitian Drums in the Brooklyn Yard reached #3 on the JazzWeek World radio charts.

A Haitian native from the small town of Port -au-Prince, Monvelyno Alexis began playing the Guitar at the age of 18. Gospel music was his first musical experience. As a young boy, Monvelyno's instruments included the Flute, Clarinet, and the Trumpet. However, his passion for the Guitar was supreme. By his early twenties, Monvelyno had matured into an experienced Guitar player and he was fortunate to meet and begin playing with Thurgot Theodat, one of Haiti's most famous Jazz musicians who were working to fuse Jazz and Voodoo rhythms. This propelled Monvelyno into a deep ethnography of Voodoo music. Over the next three to four years, he visited traditional temples, as Lakou Souvenans, Lakou Badjo, Lakou Soukri, and spent time with highPriests and Priestesses of Voodoo, and learned many of their ritual spiritual songs.

Vo-Duo
Inspired by the rhythms and chants of the sacred Vodou music traditions of Haiti, guitarist/vocalist extraordinaire Monvelyno Alexis and renowned percussionist Markus Schwartz incorporate elements of "Mizik Rasin", Jazz and Rock into a uniquely original and modern improvisational context.

Vo-Duo's debut recording, entitled "Nou La" (We are here) is a testament to this dynamic duo's combined lifetime of dedication to their craft. Monvelyno & Markus are both established bandleaders and sought-after sidemen on the Haitian music scene in NYC and beyond. Together they manifest a unique and passionate musical vision for the past, present and future of Haitian music.

Lyrics

Alegba Gran Chemin

Written By: Monvelyno Alexis

Haitian Creole:
Alegba gran chimen nou chita, ou pase la bonjou w pasa di m
Alegba gran chimen nou kanpe, ou pase la bonjou w paka di m
Le w fe byen ou we byen, le w fe mal ou we mal o
ki mele m ave yo, ki mele m ave yo, ki mele m ave yo

Vwa m konnen langinen, li rive gran chimen
Vwa kouri lajounen , lal poze nan seren
fow l rele met gran bwa, pou l relel simbi makaya
pou rele grann zile, n angaje tonne
n angaje n angaje n angaje

English:
Alegba of the Great Road, we sit here
You pass without even a hello.
Alegba of the Great Road, we stand up
You pass without even a hello.
When you do good deeds, good comes to you
When you do bad deeds, bad things come to you
Why should i care?

My voice is known in the land of our ancestors
It travels the Great Road
My voice runs through the day, and rests deep in the night.
It calls the spirits of the forest, calls the healing spirits
Calls to the grandmother Zile, we are in trouble.
We are working hard, Haiti is struggling.
My country is in trouble.

Discography

Vo-Duo
Lakou Brooklyn, (2012)

Markus Schwartz & Lakou Brooklyn - Equinox
Soundkeeper Recordings, 2010

Markus Schwartz - Tanbou Nan Lakou Brooklyn/Haitian Drums in the Brooklyn Yard -self-released, 2008 (featured on NPR, peaked at #3 on JazzWeek's World Music radio airplay charts, BEAT Magazine top ten release for 2008.)

Mozayik (co-leader) - Haitian Creole Jazz
Zoho Music, 2004

many sideman credits, including Wyclef Jean, Emeline Michel, Pauline Jean, Jowee Omicil, Buyu Ambroise and more.

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Monvelno / Kod ak Po Project:
Kouzin Azakamede 2010
Conscience State of Mind 2011