(BLACK PR WIRE) – From the moment Haiti was discovered up to the mid-1900s, Haitians’ essential musical instruments always included the Haitian drum, also called "tanbou" in Creole. It represents a significant piece in Haitian history. During their independence ceremony, Haitians dance to the beat of the drum while feasting on pumpkin soup. The drum is a distinctive tool originating from Africa, made with hard woods and covered with goat or cow skin. It endows Haitians with an organic and versatile sound which enables their music to stand out from other music. The drum is played simply with bare hands. Dissimilar notes coming from the drum are created from the player’s movement of the fingers sliding on the instrument. The device brings a sense of joy and energy to the people.
The Haitian people wanted to explore other music, so they started to borrow melodies from the Dominican Republic. The Haitians were drawn to their music because the Dominicans included tanbou as well. A renowned Haitian saxophonist named Nemours Jean Baptiste was not too pleased with the change. By the 1950s, he wanted to take the population away from the Dominican tunes, "Tipico de Cibajino" and "El Negrito del Batey," which were carried out by the saxophone and the drum. He wanted to preserve the main tool that depicts the Haitian culture, the drum. He introduced a style of music that enabled Haitians to continue to use the drum without having to borrow from their neighbors. He established compas – Haitian musical rhythm.
The new genre was more appealing to the youth than the adults. Nonetheless, everyone approved of it. Compas, ever since, has shaped the Haitian culture. It became the signature Haitian music. Today, whether it’s at a club, a wedding or simply a house party, compas is the main style of music played by Haitians. It is so instilled in some people that they sit out any other types of music and wait patiently for the drum-driven melody they call their own.