Editor’s note: This article was written by Nathalie ‘Talie’ Cerin, a Haitian singer-songwriter, teaching artist, podcast host & blogger currently living in Philadelphia. She is the Editor of @woymagazine. Follow her on Instagram.
The konpa community mourns the passing of famous Haitian music and Konpa great Herman Nau, the co-founder of the group Tabou Combo. Nau suffered a stroke on July 11th and succumbed to his illness this past Sunday July 25th, at Methodist Hospital in New York, one day before the 66th anniversary of Konpa. One of the genre’s most legendary bands, Tabou Combo was founded in 1968, and are often credited as “the ambassadors of Konpa.” The group achieved much international acclaim for their music. They were named “Panama’s official band” because of their popularity in the South American country, and they were the first konpa band to have a number one single in the French Hit Parade.
Tributes have pouring out all over social media for the late great drummer who left his mark on many. In an official statement, the Haitian ministry of culture dubbed him “a creator of joy, a forger of destinies.”
Musician and producer Fabrice Rouzier, who we recently interviewed tweeted:
Shedley Abraham, a famous Haitian konpa drummer and producer, gave a moving tribute on Instagram earlier this week. Translated from Haitian Creole he said: “It saddens me deeply when a fellow drummer passes away, especially one that had created their own style. Herman Nau was a man whose style I studied and learned closely, especially for when I’m playing uptempo music… Rest In Peace, legend.”
Our sincerest condolences to the Nau family, the Tabou Combo team, and the Konpa community.