Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: HMI World
|Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:15 pm Post subject: NICOLINA: KM INTERVIEW WITH ZENGLEN'S FIRST LADY!
|Check out this interview that KOMPA MAGAZINE conducted with ZENGLEN's first lady NICOLINA. Very interesting responses as you also get to know a lot more about her and her thoughts surrounding her group ZENGLEN.
Conducted by PATRICK DESVARIEUX for KOMPA MAGAZINE!
1) NICOLINA, how did you end up joining ZENGLEN and getting involved in Haitian music?
My friend Nestor Zabala who was the first steady trombone player to play with Zenglen asked me to fill in one weekend in August of 1999 and I have never left the band since. I heard some Haitian music only before this when I used to live in the Dominican Republic in the late 1980's. The Dominican musicians speak so well of Haitain music and Haitian musicians. We used to sit around and listen to the Haitian radio station and they would tell me stories about Haitain music
2) IF you don't mind me asking, are you of SPANISH or ITALIAN origins, or perhaps something else? Please explain.
All my grandparents are from Italy but both my parents were born in Buffalo New York. I don't speak Italian since I am 3rd generation. I learned Spanish by playing with a lot of Salsa and Merengue bands in Miami and on cruise ships and also being in and out of the Domincan Republic. This confuses a lot of people!!
3) When you first got into Haitian music, I am pretty sure that you probably did not think that you would remain in the Haitian field for that long. AM I right or wrong?
Before I started playing Haitian music, I had a feeling that I was going to do this some day but never ever for this long!!
4) What attracted you to the SAXOPHONE? At what age did you start playing, and at what age did you start gigging with bands?
I started playing clarinet when I was 13 years old. But I really wanted to play the Saxophone, since I went to a public school, they only had 1 Saxophone to offer students and they didn't choose me! I got stuck with the clarinet but this was a help since this instrument is much harder to learn. I picked up the Sax (finally) when I was 16 years old. I new I was starting late so I used to practice 6 hours a day and played my first gig when I was 19 years old.
5) Do you do other gigs with other bands outside of the HAITIAN market besides Zenglen?
I used to but since Zenglen is so busy, I am doing this less and less.
6) You are a gigger in zenglen, yet, you are one of the most recognizable faces/figures in the band beause you have been there for so long with the group. What has made you stick around with ZENGLEN despite all the trials and tribulations that they have been through?
I am still a gigger. I think I stick around mostly because of Brutus. When things get really bad, I just look at his face and cannot leave. Its something about all the things that he went through since the band started (I think it has been around 18 years?) and know I could never hurt him.
7) In your opinion, has the band suffered from Gracia Delva's departure in terms of popularity? Please explain even if it is a yes or a no.
Yes, there is only one Gracia Delva. He is something special. But I think because the music Richie writes is so special also, that we have been able to bounce back. I don't think anyone can write music quite like Richie. It is probably equal to Gracia being an entertainer.
What about the departure of NICKENSON Prudhomme? Your thoughts on that.
I don't think we suffered as much when Nicky left but also, nobody can play the way Nicky plays. Sometimes I listen to old recordings with Nicky and I really MISS HIM.
9) There was a lot of drama and tension surrounding the group during the stint of REGINALD CANGE and FRERO. Do you think they fit the band well, or do you think their decision to leave the group was the best for all parties involved?
They did fit the band well on a musical level. I love them both, but like a family, you can have personalities that clash. Nobody is right or wrong. I think because the personalities overpowered the musical aspect that it was the best thing they left. I don't think we could have grown musically with the way things were. .
10) Your impressions of KENNY so far in the group. Has he brought stability to the band, and do you think he can bring ZENGLEN back to the height of popularity that the group enjoyed during the days of Gracia Delva?
Now with KENNY...WOW what is there to say. Kenny is still moving up and getting better and better every day. This is what I feel.. He's doing great!!! This is the first time in almost 9 years with the band that it really feels stable. Kenny is not only a great singer and performer, he is also a great person and very down to earth.
11) What is the MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE that you've had as a member of ZENGLEN at a bal performance, or off the stage?
This is the hardest question because there are so many great experiences with everyone now and back with Gracia, Nicky, Frero and Reginald. But I remember the first time when I went to Haiti and we drove in a bus from the the Capital to Cap Haitian. We were driving through the mountains and we were all there together and this part of Haiti is so beautiful! The first experience seeing this part of the country was great and to be all together like that was greater!
12) What is your favorite CITY and COUNTRY to travel to in terms of performing? Why?
I think the best for me is playing in Haiti. The people appreciate the music so much. They really listen to what your doing. You can't make a mistake, they will know!! We in the United States and other as they say "more developed Coutries" tend to lose our ears. We watch at too many movies and television. But the people in Haiti have not lost this. I
13) Your worst memory as a member of Zenglen so far? Any particular experience comes to mind?
Probably when I found out that Gracia could not come back into the country. At the time, it was like losing a brother.
14) Do you play any other types of music?
I play Jazz, Classical Clarinet, Salsa, Merengue and I also used to play in a Brazilian Band
15) Have you ever thought about releasing a SOLO CD? Or have you?
People have told me to do this in the past but I have not felt the inspiration to do this as of yet.
16) Are you aware that you have quite a lot of fans in the Haitian market? I would even go as far as saying that quite a few also think that you are very sexy. Any thoughts on that?
I never think of myself in this way. I just like to play music and enjoy playing with Zenglen and I'm always trying to think how I can play better that I rarely think about anything else. Sometimes when people mention this it feels like a shock because I forget that I am doing this in front of a lot of people!! And I am actually very very shy. I usually run from the stage to the doors because of this!
17) Do you interact or talk to the other regular horn giggers that are in the HAITIAN MARKET, such as the horn player from NU LOOK, and maybe others?
Oh yes, I was friends with the musicians in NU LOOK and musicians in lot of the other bands since before I played with Zenglen. I have played with them around Miami before I started playing Haitian music.
1 If you were to describe to US who exactly is NICOLINA in terms of personality and more, what would you say?
You really have hard questions!! I like to laugh a lot!! I love the other job that I have where I work for the State of Florida and try to help the people in need with Food Stamps and Medicaid. This is also great to do! Well...I just wake up every morning trying and figure out how I can be a better person each day. Get rid of all the hate and all bad feelings and try to replace love and good feelings. (sometimes this is easier said than done!)
19) ANY FINAL WORDS?
Thanks so much for this interview. I am happy that you appreciate the music. I dont' plan on going anywhere soon. I hope you will enjoy the new CD that's coming out!!
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Last edited by kompamagazine on Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:27 am; edited 1 time in total