Son Haiti: Best of Coupe Cloue
Cordes et Ame

Latin » Tropical » Compas

Haitian bandleader Nemours Jean-Baptiste coined the phrase "compas direct" in the '50s to refer to his style of music. Compas means "musical measure" in Spanish, and "direct" refers to the absence of a third chord. Although similar to merengue, compas has a more driving rhythm; its moderate tempo is paced by a steady bass, which anchors the drum and cowbell percussion. The instrumentation changed from a big band with a full horn section to the smaller "mini-jazz" combos of the later '60s and '70s, who introduced electric guitars and trap drums while retaining the solo saxophone (most typically, the alto sax) and sometimes the accordion. Compas now had a less direct meaning and became a generic term to refer to the Haitian style or, more specifically, rhythm. As the immigrant community grew, New York City became home to the top compas bands. Different varieties of compas spread to Miami, Montreal, Paris, and throughout the Caribbean, especially Guadeloupe and Martinique. In exile, many varieties of compas have been influenced by soul and funk and more recently by zouk, a popular dance music inspired by Haitian compas.

Compas Album Highlights

Son Haiti: Best of Coupe Cloue
Coupé Cloué
Son Haiti: Best of Coupe ...
Cordes et Ame
Emeline Michel
Cordes et Ame
Couleur Compas, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Couleur Compas, Vol. 2

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Compas Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Alfabe
Gason Total
Orchestra Tropicana

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Other Styles in Tropical