Francis Mercier Honors Haitian Flag Day with Rework of Boukman Eksperyans’ "Imamou Lele"

Mercier revisits and reworks Boukman Eksperyans’ 1998 traditional Haitian song, “Imamou Lele,” ahead of Haitian Flag Day on May 18.

2 min
Francis Mercier Beatportal
May 17, 2024
Rachel Narozniak

26 years ago, Boukman Eksperyans, a band from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, reflected on the state of their home country on “Imamou Lele.” Now, Port-au-Prince-born DJ/producer and Deep Roots Records head honcho, Francis Mercier, pays homage to his Haitian roots ahead of Haitian Flag Day (May 18) by revisiting the Grammy-nominated group’s song.

On the celebratory rework, Mercier re-imagines “Imamou Lele” in an Afro House context that, stylistically, maintains both the energy and rhythmic soul of the original production. Mercier adds a series of deep, melodic touches that impress his signature on the traditional Haitian song in a way that is both complementary and unimposing. His version, “Imamou,” lands via his Deep Root Records imprint, Deep Root Tribe. With it, Mercier brings the sound of Boukman Eksperyans to a swath of new listeners spanning countries and generations. Listen below.

“Imamou” follows Mercier’s previous Haitian release, “Ayibobo.” The single, produced alongside Nitefreak, with vocals from Lenny Auguste, landed on Deep Root Tribe in 2022. Last year, “Ayibobo” was featured in the UN Chamber Music Society’s (of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council [UNCMS]) Virtual Concert in Celebration of World Refugee Day.

In addition to releasing “Imamou,” Mercier has launched a fundraiser in support of Ayiti Demen.

“As a Haitian artist, I travel the world with my country’s acute political turmoil and uncertainty weighing heavily on my heart. Today, I’m happy to have the opportunity to lend a helping hand by raising awareness on how the world can provide funds to alleviate hunger, rebuild communities, and forge a better path forward for Haiti,” he says. “Ayiti Demen is a trusted organization doing invaluable work on the ground throughout Haiti. [It] offers a large spectrum of activities in the fields of education, arts and culture, and development to local communities throughout the country and to civil society organizations.”

“Imamou” is out now via Deep Root Tribe. Buy it on Beatport.

Check out Francis Mercier’s latest Beatport chart.

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