Haitian singer Moonlight Benjamin returns with her new album Simido after the international success of 2018’s album Siltane. Moonlight’s stirring vocals are supremely arranged with Matthis Pascaud’s blues driven aesthetic. The band have been touring hard, bonding their tight musicianship and even declaring a mutual love of Arctic Monkeys.
Moonlight’s success during a hectic touring schedule has inspired Creole songs of passion and determination for her people in Haiti. Highlights on this album typify this mission. Lead single Nap Chape calls out the ruling classes and highlights their inaction, whereas title track Simido is a song of hope. Each cut has been sharply honed while playing festivals and stages throughout Europe like Lowlands, Shambala and Fusion Festival and making her US debut at the Lincoln Centre in New York. DJs like Cerys Matthews and Iggy Pop have been playing her tracks and Darek Mazzone of KEXP praised her “new and explosive”.
Moonlight was born in 1971 in Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti and was taken in by Reverend Doucet Alvarez after her mother died following her birth. Brought up Roman Catholic singing gospel in the church, it was in Moonlight’s late teens when she met Tines Salvant, a singer and guitarist who invited her to record on his debut album, which changed her world forever. By the late ’80s Moonlight had begun delving deep into Haiti’s ancient roots and culture and whilst doing so, sung and collaborated with a raft of Haitian artists including Max Aubin and Jean-Claude Martineau, the former’s death was one of the catalysts for her moving to France in 2002.
Simido is out now. Live dates will be supporting the new album in Europe and the US:
March 27th – Big Ears Festival, Knoxville, USA
March 29th – Mountain Stage, Charleston, USA
April 2nd – Le Metronum, Toulouse, France
April 3rd – Théâtre Na Loba, Pennautier, France
May 5th – MA Catania, Catania, Italy
May 6th – MA Catania, Catania, Italy
May 7th – MA Catania, Catania, Italy
May 23rd – Festival Jam’In Jette, Brussels, Belgium May 30th – l’Astrada, Marciac, France