Montréal-based band from Chad H’SAO has been capturing the hearts of small audiences and large crowds alike since 2001. The band has always been passionate about sharing its unique blend of modern sound and traditional African musical influences. H’SAO has traveled the world, delivering electrifying performances, launching three innovative albums and, most of all, developing a musical signature that spans several genres and thus transcends the “world music” category.
At first, voices–but what voices!–were their only instrument. Then, brothers Caleb (guitar), Mossbass (bass) and Izra L (keyboard) along with their childhood friend Dono (drums) added musical instruments to their rich and inspired compositions. Today, the self-taught musicians continue to weave the impressive a cappella harmonies that made their fame into their powerful live performances. These seasoned musician-singers have stayed true to their roots, drawing from gospel, soul, R&B, reggae and Chadian music. The result is as skilful and heartfelt as it is unique.
Whether its style is labeled Afro-fusion or Afro-jazz, H’SAO is defined by the strength of its voices and vocal harmonies, its rhythms and its authenticity. Onstage, the band sets itself apart through energetic performances, punctuated by catchy choreography and warm interactions with the audience. This distinctive presence was sought by prominent festivals here and abroad, such as WOMAD (New Zealand), Brisbane Festival (Australia), Queensland (Australia), Vancouver Folk Music Festival,Francofolies, Luminato (Toronto), Montreal International Jazz Festival, Nuits d’Afrique, Festival d’été de Québec, Coup de cœur francophone, Awesome Africa (Afrique du Sud), FrancoFête (Moncton). Besides touring Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, the band made appearances at several noteworthy events. H’SAO notably played before the Queen of England on Canada Day, at the Francophonie games, with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, at Québec City’s 400th anniversary and at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Gala.
Ten years after the release of its self-titled album and four years after Vol 235, the band launched Oria in 2013. The level of social commitment expressed on this third album is a tribute the impressive journey that lead up to its creation. Nominated for World Music Album of the Yearat the Gala de l’ADISQ, Oria is an invitation to rediscover the boundless vocal talent of H’SAO and to experience a more subdued, masterful and varied instrumental universe. Its biting and poignant songs address peace, social justice, religion, love and other universal themes. The band will tour Canada and the United States throughout 2014 while simultaneously preparing its upcoming acoustic record.