Orchestre Septentrional is the remnant of an epoch of musical glory pioneered by the prestigious Orchestra of Issa-el-Saieh which introduced in Haiti in the mid forties the Big Band sound. It is in that environment Septentrional was founded in July 27, 1948 in Cape Haitien -Haiti’s second largest city-, and the orchestra has proved itself to be the true heir of Saieh. Yet, it took the orchestra 15 years (1963) before it published its first recording.
Ever since, no other Haitian musical formation has reached the level of productivity Septentrional has achieved. Here is why: Septen has published on vinyl two 78, six 33, two 45, twenty-seven stereo 33, and four CDs. In fact, Septen can boast having produced an impressive total of 62 recordings, among them, twenty accompanying some the greatest Haitian artists like Guy Durosier, Ansy Derose, Charles Dessalines and comedian/playwright Theodore Beaubrun. In addition, a slew of well-known international artists such as Alberto Beltran, Roberto Ledesma, Nelson Ned, Johnny Ventura, Mireille Diaz, to name a few, have benefited from Septen’s brilliant accompaniment. By the mid-seventies, Septentrional was at the peak of its game as it recorded one of its most shining albums with the famous Hugo Henrique.
Orchestre Septentrional, led for 51 years by saxophonist Ulrich Pierre-Louis, has self-imposed a mission of being diverse as it has interpreted, composed and/or recorded a vast array of songs using rhythms from Petro to Pachanga, Bolero, Mambo, Danzon, Afro, Songo, Beguine, Calypso, Meringue, and many more. Witness is a re-issue that contains two “Bouldefe”, an original rhythm Septen has created, one Congo, two Meringues, two Petro, one Romance-Afro, two Ibo, one Afro, one Pachanga. This is undoubtedly as diverse as one single record can be.
Today, Septentrional is younger than ever and its performances are right on target.