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Having lived in Detroit during a one-year scholarship, for longer stints in France and Canada and now making NYC her home, Haitian singer/songwriter/producer Emeline Michel's eighth album Rasin Kreyol celebrates French Caribbean island music reconnecting with her roots from abroad. Her music includes native Haitian styles called compas, twoubadou and rara which the opening track "Bel Kongo" points back toward their African origins.

The swaying rhythm of "Nasyon Soley" and its chorus will remind listeners of the saudade by Cesaria Evora, the barefoot diva from the Cape Verde island while the beat foundation of "La Karidad" harkens back or forward to Tippitina's in New Orleans. This is vibrant juicy music carried on the shimmies of the manman tanbou, boula and katabou drums from the First Black Republic, Haiti. The heated Latin horns of "Bo Kote'W" are in the stylistic minority as most the tunes are driven by guitar, bass and drums and jubilant backup chorus. Think Voudoun rites and their reliance on the power of drums and music to induce trance states. Add the byline "Queen of Haitian Song" as it pertains to one of the bestselling artists from the island. Rasin Kreyol ain't no shriveled-up Mandingo raisin. Whatever 'rasin' means, it's probably synonymous with raising the Creole spirit from the dead with life-affirming lyrics, high-energy danceable melodies and a driving boiler room of congoeros and other noise makers led by the richly femmy vocals of Emeline who sounds like a force of nature adorned with pineapples, bananas and other tropical fruit.