Konpa music has been knocked as genre for the simplicity of its rhythm and the way its lyrics are often not sophisticated.With Konpa, it’s always felt that what counts is not how the lyrics can inspire the listeners, but whether or not people can dance to the music. The message was secondary to the music, and the musicians seem to want to walk on safer grounds rather than push the envelop when it comes to lyrics critical of the political environment.The year 1986 imprinted its mark on every aspect of Haiti’s social and political life. People were more inclined to speak their minds and felt freer not to be the spokesperson of the political rulers of the day. Konpa, as a musical genre, also reflected that new sociopolitical period in our life.Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, Tropicana and Septentrional made it their duty to compose songs that were favor of the dictatorship. In one song, Septentrional told us: “Francois, our father, sit as comfortably a possible on the presidential chair; the people love you”.Bossa Combo was always referred as “Jean Claude Duvalier’s musical group”. Generally, if these musicians don’t become Duvalier apologists, their next likely theme is women – or better yet, a smear campaign against women. Here deceased Koupe Kloure had no competition. No voice ever arose to say: Enough.These are new times. One can criticize the political rulers of the day and not feel the brunt of their repression. The ruler can deny you access to the Carnival or pressure the radio stations not to play a particular song, but jail time is out of the question.It’s ironic that Sweet Micky spent his whole career castigating the Lavalas government for their alleged involvement in various cases of corruption. However, the same Micky, now as president of the country, had no problems removing one the critical musicians of his regime from this year’s Carnival for his song, aloral. Credit should be given to the roots musicians – Eddy Francois, Boukmann Eksperyans or RAM – for producing the most patriotic type of music.Richie Herard, ex Zenglen, may now be one of the two best Konpa composers; Dadou Pasquet is the other one. It seems that there is a conscious effort on his part to go against three things that Konpa music has traditionally been guilty of: lyrics that were too simple; a negative social message and an arrangement that hasn’t worked out too well.Richie’s album “Nou kapab jere ti sa”, released about eight years ago, may be one of the best Konpa albums ever produced for the quality of the lyrics and the music. You can dance to the music if that’s what you feel like doing. You can also sit back and listen.I believe this is the greatest change in the Konpa music industry. Today the musicians may not be better musicians, but they are better educated. Pasquet, Richie and Rolls Roro Laine of Djakout Mizik are extremely thoughtful individuals. (Someone should advise Laine to be quiet once in Martelly’s presence; his strident (and crazy) “Martelly avi” comments left too many uncomfortable.) It’s no surprise that Magnum Band and Djakout Mizik may be the best in town.These thoughts came to mind as Konpa lovers from Haiti and the Diaspora converged in Miami last Saturday to dance to the sounds of Konpa.The next great battle lies in our musicians’ ability to make sure that Konpa music has successfully crossed over. It’s not impossible!