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Wesli

Wesli is a born troubadour and committed artist whose groove machine fuses afrobeat, reggae and Haitian rara into an energetic and irresistible performance. The multi-instrumentalist and producer-songwriter testifies on behalf of his people in a festive, original and enthralling musical universe, conquering hearts and minds.

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.

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.

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 most formidable creature in world music Montreal presently has to offer the rest of the planet” (Alain Brunet, La Presse).

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Winner of a JUNO Award in the Best World Music Album Category and awarded ”Coup de Coeur” of the Academy Charles Cros in France in 2019, Rapadou Kreyol, sung entirely in Creole, reaffirms Wesli’s commitment to his country of origin.  It unites troubadour songs and voodoo rhythms arranged for light instrumentation with rara beats played on original instruments: Konë, Bamboo, Kata, Segon, and Tambou Petro.

Discography

Critical success

  • SOCAN “Hagood Hardy” Award for World Music, 2016
  • Top 10 position for 3rd + 4th  album double release “Ayiti Étoile Nouvelle” & “ImmiGrand”, 2015
  • Charted at #1 on iTunes World Music with “ImmiGrand”, 2015
  • 4-star reviews in La Presse (Alain Brunet) for both albums, 2015
  • CBC Revelation Award and Galaxy Rising Star 2011
  • Top 3 World Music Album for “Liberté” (2nd album), Le Devoir, 2011
  • Babel Med Music Award France 2010
  • Co-writer of “Nap chante pou Ayiti”, a song in aid of the earthquake victims in Haiti, 2010