Haitian in his origins, a Montrealer by adoption, global in culture: Wesli is among those who are
capable of exploring different paths while maintaining his identity and preserving firm roots in his
artistic approaches and his vision of existence.
Born into a large family in Haiti, Wesli got his start in the gospel choir of the local church and
adopted the guitar as his preferred instrument. Determination, commitment and boldness soon
opened musical doors to him. He performed in various venues with the Afro-roots quartet Jazz
4ever as well as SoKute with whom he produced and recorded the soul album Horizon, and he
travelled abroad with the Kreyol Mizik company. This achieved such success that he was able
to expand his dreams beyond his native Haiti.
In 2001, Montreal welcomed this young singer with an appetite for discovery. He soon found a
role with the Productions Nuits d’Afrique team and with various major festivals, including the
Francofolies and the Montréal International Jazz Festival. His talents as a guitarist also earned
him a select place with the greatest of Caribbean and African artists. This led to opening acts for
Tiken Jah Fakoly and Magic System at the Olympia and Alpha Blondy at the Metropolis.
In 2009, his first album, Kouraj, showed his ease in mixing African instruments (kora, balafon,
calabash, talking drum) and Haitian percussions (manman tambou, segon, kata) with guitar and
saxophone solos in colourful, fully rounded arrangements that showcased his style. He was
admired for his ability to bring together Afrobeat, reggae, rock and Haitian rara accompanied by
lyrics evoking social, political and environmental issues, with an emphasis on the courage
needed to keep moving forward.
With Liberté dans le noir in 2011, Wesli continued to explore, in particular through unusual
collaborations with Radio Radio and Mes Aieux.
This prolific singer released two albums in 2015, ImmiGrand amd Ayiti étoile nouvelle, and two
more in 2018, Rapadou Kreyol and Tradisyon. While troubadour-style moods and Voodoo beats
and chants were prominent in Rapadou Kreyol, the sound of Tradisyon was more urban:
reggae, Afrobeat, funk, blues, rock, kompa and Afro-electro. This duality marked both his
attachment to his roots and his search for a maturity that would keep him advancing,
experimenting and using inspirations that came to him from other artists and groups.
Since 2008, Wesli and his group have performed regularly at major festivals in Canada. He
appears on many radio and television shows, including Belle et Bum, Des kiwis et des hommes,
Pour un soir seulement and Studio 12. This generosity makes him one of the most appreciated
and well supported world music artists in Québec and across Canada.
The year 2019 was a big one for him. After being named among “coups de cœur” artists by
France’s Académie Charles Cros and receiving a Juno Award in the world music category, he
set off on an international tour that brought him to France, South Korea, Switzerland and
There is so much to say, show and make known about Wesli, he will use his appearance in the
Étoiles montantes series to offer an outstanding show on the theme of discovery and magic in a
festive, original and captivating atmosphere.