Compas is short for compas direct in French. In Creole, it is spelled as konpa dirèk or simply konpa. It is commonly spelled as it is pronounced as kompa.
The word “compás” in Spanish means “beat” or “rhythm” and one of the most distinctive characteristics of compas is the consistent pulsating beat tanbou, a trait common to many styles of Caribbean music. Compas direct, literally means direct beat.
Compas (Haitian Creole: konpa), or kompa, is a modern méringue musical genre in Haiti with European and African roots. The genre was popularized following the 1955 creation of the band Conjunto International by Nemours Jean-Baptiste. Compas is the main music of many countries such as Dominica and the French Antilles, etc. Whether it is called zouk where French Antilles artists of Martinique and Guadeloupe have taken it or compas in places where Haitian artists have toured, this méringue style is very influential in the Caribbean, Africa, Cape Verde, Portugal, France, part of Canada, South and North America.