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- WOMEX 2016
- WOMEX 2014
Galaxie Rising Star Award London 2011
Babel Med Music Award France 2010
CBC Revelation 2009-10
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 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 wè 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.”1 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
1 SunFest Website http://www.sunfest.on.ca/festival/performers/wesli
2 Voir’s Kouraj review, Ralph Bloncy http://voir.ca/fiches/cd/wesli-kouraj/
about “the leading voice of Montréal’s world music: maybe even the most promising artist for the world scene.”3 “Wesley Louissaint, is a born entertainer who’s groove machine skilfully cooks up afrobeats, reggae, rock and Haitian Rara into a unique blend of spicy pot-o-feu. »2 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.
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 Montréal presently has to offer internationally” Alain Brunet, La Presse4. Wesli was also featured on the cover of Voir Saguenay in August 2011.5