Wesli

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Biography of
Wesli Louissaint

SOCAN Hagood Hardy Prize for World Music 2016

Accolades

  • SOCAN "Hagood Hardy" Prize for World Music 2016
  • Galaxie Rising Star Award London 2011
  • Babel Med Music Award France 2010
  • CBC Revelation 2009-10

Bio

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wesli (Wesley Louissaint) built his first guitar out of an old NGO- provided oil can and nylon shoe lace when he was just eight years old. Coming from a family of 8 children where music was a daily food for the soul, it became second nature to him, a unique and vital way out of the violence and misery found in the surrounding ghetto. Wesli’s musical journey started in the gospel choir of his local church and then he adopted the guitar as his main instrument.

Wesli and his guitar

Ever since, Wesli has worked relentlessly, perfecting his art, his only hope for a better life. Very early, he took part in serious projects such as the afro-roots Jazz 4ever quartet and SoKute. He performed in many of Haiti’s concert halls and traveled abroad with Kreyol Mizik company. In his teens, Wesli produced and recorded the album Horizon with SoKute. Their soul music gathered wide success and even made them famous outside Haiti.

The release of his second album, Liberté dans le noir, in December 2011, has confirmed those affirmations. The 17 tracks feature duos with many major bands and artists: the great Tiken Jah Fakoly, Mes Aieux, Radio Radio, Paul Cargnello, Boogat and Karma Atchykah.

Already it has gathered much success:

  • Top 25 Album of the year 2011, Voir.ca newspaper (barely 6 days after its release) Top 3 World
  • Music Album of the Year 2011, Le Devoir newspaper
  • 4.5 stars Album Ranking, Voir.ca
  • 4 stars Album Ranking, 24h Montréal
  • The song « Né sous le soleil » was Top #1 for over a week, followed by Top #2, right behind La Bottine souriante over the Holidays 2011, EspaceMusique.ca

Moreover, Wesley Louissaint has produced, composed and arranged musical creations for films, including CBC’s documentary about Dany Laferrière. He composed, with Arianne Moffat, Nomadic Massive and Doba, the popular song « Nap chante pou Ayiti » the day after the earthquake in Haiti, on January 12th 2010.

He also collaborated with other Montreal artists as an artistic director and composer, namely for Senaya (Garde la tê̂te haute, 2005) and Sara Rénélik (Aube, 2006); as well as working as a musical director for Line 1 Company.

Be it in an acoustic formation (guitar, voice and percussion) or with his big band, Wesli consistently delivers a rich, festive and uniquely engaging sound. He conquers the heart of his audience through complex musical arrangements and universal messages of hope, truth and peace. Critics have crowned him “the strongest world creature Montreal presently has to offer internationally” Alain Brunet, La Presse.

Wesli was also featured on the cover of Voir Saguenay in August 2011.

Discography

Kouraj

Wesli has acquired strong skills and knowledge through these experiences and his debut album, Kouraj (2009), “deals head-on with the struggles of everyday life, including the dire situation in his homeland (extreme poverty, kidnappings, the environment...); but, equally, he stresses the importance of reaching for higher ground [...] The majority of the songs are sung in brilliant Creole and French, with one English cut, “Na wé yo”, that speaks out about the forgotten people of Africa. African instruments (Cora, Balaphone, Calabash, Talking drum), Haitian drums (Manman tambou, Segon, Kata) and stellar guitar and sax solos drive a highly compelling recording.

Cover of Wesli's album Kouraj
  1. Wandjalé
  2. Sa Yo Fè
  3. Doudou
  4. Nèg Makaya (Nu Groov)
  5. Manzè
  6. Zilé (feat. Steeve Khé)
  7. Blackman
  8. La Vi Dròl
  9. Kouraj
  10. Kolonizasiyon
  11. Na Wè Yo
  12. Ghetto
  13. Emmène-moi
  14. Mizik Saa

It went on to win 4 stars in the magazine Voir 2 and was nominated for the World Music album of the year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards. From then on, the musical scene partners have been raving about "the leading voice of Montreal's world music: maybe even the most promising artist for the world scene":

  • SunFest Website www.sunfest.on.ca/festival/performers/wesli
  • Voir’s Kouraj review, Ralph Bloncy voir.ca/fiches/cd/wesli-kouraj/
  • Wesley Louissaint, is a born entertainer whose groove machine skilfully cooks up afrobeats, reggae, rock and Haitian Rara into a unique blend of spicy pot-o-feu.
  • Wesli won Radio-Canada (CBC) Revelation of the year 2009-2010, Babel Med Music Award in France and Nominee for the Gala Soba in the World Solo Artist of the Year category.

Liberté Dans le Noir

In his second album Wesli reaffirms the Montreal-Haiti connection and demonstrates his great attraction through collaborations notably with Radio Radio, Mes Aieux and Tiken Jah Fakoly.

Cover of Wesli's album Liberté Dans le Noir
  1. Colonisation with Tiken Jah Fakholy
  2. Ça fait mal
  3. Waya waya
  4. Danse baila danse
  5. Liberté dans le noir
  6. Bel ti fanm kréyol
  7. Sous Le Soleil
  8. Peace
  9. EveryDay
  10. Ça fait Mal
  11. Laibonit
  12. Ou Dim
  13. Bye Bye Daome
  14. 3 Féy
  15. Lanmou Nou
  16. Tchentchen
  17. Mama Africa

Immigrand

Wesli's 3rd album, published n February 2015, at the same time as his 4th.

Cover of Wesli's album Immigrand
  1. Intro
  2. Konsa (feat. Lou Piensa de Nomadic Massive)
  3. The Only One
  4. Pa ka ri
  5. ImmiGrand
  6. L'amiral Skarawak
  7. Rara Kalito (feat. Radio Radio)
  8. J'ai grandi dans un ghetto (feat. Dramatik)
  9. On regarde
  10. Jouer le jeu
  11. Moris Dezo (feat. Vox Sambou)
  12. Eya Hé
  13. Jah Love
  14. Ret tann pou tann tounen pwa tann
  15. Ou dim (feat. Mamselle Ruiz)
  16. Bèl ti fanm kreyòl (feat. BélO et BIC)
  17. Bann mwen (feat. Socalled)
  18. Jistis Set Me Free (feat. Nomadic Massive)
  19. Nago

Ayiti étoile nouvelle

Wesli's 4th album was launched in Febraury 2015, at the same time as his 3rd.

Cover of Wesli's album Ayiti étoile nouvelle
  1. Rara
  2. Latibonit
  3. Ile
  4. Mama Africa
  5. Sonje
  6. Mon Konpè
  7. La Pèsòn (feat. Toto Laraque)
  8. Eya Hé
  9. Kote Nou Ye
  10. Ça fait mal
  11. 3 Fèy
  12. Mizik Saa
  13. La Vi dwol
  14. Manzè