Music of Martinique

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Music of Martinique
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The music of Martinique has a heritage which is intertwined with that of its sister island, Guadeloupe. Despite their small size, the islands have created a large popular music industry, which gained in international renown after the success of zouk music in the later 20th century. Zouk's popularity was particularly intense in France, where the genre became an important symbol of identity for Martinique and Guadeloupe. [1] Zouk's origins are in the folk music of Martinique and Guadeloupe, especially Martinican chouval bwa, and Guadeloupan gwo ka. There's also notable influence of the pan-Caribbean calypso tradition and Haitian kompa.

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Folk music

A band from Martinique during the 2014 Tropical Carnival of Paris Carnaval tropical Paris 2014 Ou za konet Martinique.jpg
A band from Martinique during the 2014 Tropical Carnival of Paris

Carnival is a very important festival, known as Vaval on Martinique. Music plays a vital role, with Martinican big bands marching across the island. Vaval declined following World War II, bouncing back with new band formats and new traditions only in the 1980s. Like Guadeloupe, Martinique features participatory, call-and-response style songs during its Vaval celebrations.

In the early 20th century on Martinique, Creole bands travelled on trucks or small carts during Vaval, playing a music known as biguine vidé (or just videé). After the decline of Vaval in World War II, the tradition began anew in the 1980s, when large marching bands of fifty or more people became common, including a number of horn players, percussionists and dancers. These large bands, known as groups à pied, are each identified with a neighborhood.

Biguine vidé

Biguine vidé is an up-tempo version of the biguine rhythm, combining other carnival elements. It participatory music, with the bandleader singing a verse and the audience responding. Modern instrumentation includes a variety of improvised drums made from containers of all kinds, plastic plumbing, bells, tanbou débonda, bélé chacha, tibwa and bélé drums. Aside from the biguine vidé bands, Vaval includes song and costume contests, masquerading and zouk parties. [2]

Bélé

The bel air (or bélé) is a legacy of the slave music tradition. The bélé itself is a huge tambour drum that players ride as though it was a horse. It is characterized, in its rhythm, by the "tibwa" (two wooden sticks) played on a length of bamboo mounted on a stand to the tambour bélé, and is often accompanied by a chacha (a maracas). The tibwa rhythm plays a basic pattern and the drum comes to mark the highlights and introduce percussion improvisations. [3] [4] [5]

It is organized in a certain way, the first entry of the singer ( lavwa ) and choir ( lavwa Deye or "answer"). Then the "Bwatè" (player ti bwa) sets the pace, followed by bélé drum. Finally, the dancers take the stage. A dialogue is created between the dancers and the "tanbouyè" (drummer). The "answer" play opposite the singer, the audience can also participate. As a family, together singers, dancers, musicians and audiences are lured by its mesmerizing rhythms. The bélé song-dances include, bélé dous, bélé pitjè, biguine bélé, bélé belya, and gran bélé

The bélé is the origin of several important Martiniquan popular styles, including chouval bwa and biguine , and also exerted an influence on zouk . [6]

Edmond Mondesir is a popular bélé musician from Martinique.

Chouval bwa

Chouval bwa is a kind of Martinican traditional music, featuring percussion, bamboo flute, accordion, and comb and paper-type kazoo. The music originated among rural Martinicans, as a form of celebratory holiday music played to accompany a dance called the manege (which translates as merry-go-round ; chouval bwa is a Creole version of cheval bois, which refers to the wooden horses seen on merry-go-rounds). Chouval bwa percussion is played by a drummer on the tanbour drum and the ti bwa, a percussion instrument made out of a piece of bamboo laid horizontally and beaten with sticks; the most traditional ensembles also use accordions, chacha (a rattle) and the bel-air, a bass version of the tanbour. [1]

Quadrille

In French Caribbean culture, especially of the Lesser Antilles, the term kwadril is a Creole term referring to a folk dance derived from the quadrille . kwadril dances are in sets consisting of proper quadrilles, plus creolized versions of 19th-century couple dances: biguines, mazouks and valses Créoles.

Instrumentation consists of variable combinations of accordion, guitar, violin, tanbou dibas, chacha (either a single metal cylinder as in Martinique, or calabash without a handle, held in both hands), malakach (maracas), triangle, bwa (tibwa) and syak, a bamboo rasp one metre long, grooved on both top and bottom, held with one end on the belly and the other on a door or wall and scraped with both hands.

Though Martinique and Guadeloupe are most frequently known only for the internationally renowned zouk style, the islands have also produced popular musicians in various updated styles of traditional biguine, chouval bwa and gwo ka. The world-famous zouk band Kassav' remains easily the most famous performers from the island. Chouval bwa has been popularized by Claude Germany, Tumpak, Dédé Saint-Prix, and Pakatak.

Martinique is also the birthplace of the Gibson Brothers who achieved significant chart success worldwide, most notably with their single "Cuba".

Biguine

Biguine is a Martinican form of clarinet and trombone music which can be divided into two distinct types:

Evolving out of string band music, biguine spread to mainland France in the 1920s. Early stars like Alexandre Stellio and Sam Castandet became popular. Its popularity abroad died relatively quickly, but it lasted as a major force in popular music on Martinique until Haitian compas took over in the 1950s and mini-jazz artists like Les Gentlemen and Les Vikings de Guadeloupe became popular in the late 1960s. In the later part of the 20th century, biguine musicians like clarinet virtuoso Michel Godzom helped revolutionize the genre.

Cadence (Kadans)/Compas

In the 1970s, a wave of Haitian, mostly musicians, to Dominica and the French Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) brought with them the kadans (another word named for the genre compas), a sophisticated form of music that quickly swept the island and helped unite all the former French colonies of the Caribbean by combining their cultural influences. These Haitians drew upon previous success from mini-jazz artists like Les Gentlemen, Les Leopards, and Les Vikings de Guadeloupe.

Later in the decade and into the 1980s, the French Antilles became home to a style of cadence music called cadence-lypso. Gordon Henderson's Exile One innovated this style, as well as turned the mini-jazz combos into guitar-dominated big bands with a full-horn section and the newly arrived synthesizers, paving the way for the success of large groups like Grammacks, Experience 7, among others. Drawing on these influences, the supergroup Kassav' invented zouk and popularized it with hit songs like "Zouk-La-Se Sel Medikaman Nou Ni". Kassav' formed from Paris in 1978.

Mini-jazz

Mini-jazz was formed in the mid-60s characterized by the rock bands formula of two guitars, one bass, drum-conga-cowbell, some use an alto sax or a full horn section, others use a keyboard, accordion or lead guitar. However, all these small jazz or bands had their guitars with sophisticated styles. The 1970s were dominated by mini-jazz, which still used a variant of the méringue style. One of the mini-jazz groups, Tabou Combo, became the most popular ensemble of Haiti. [7] From Haiti the mini-jazz formula replicated in the French Antilles in the 1970s.

Cadence-lypso

The most influential figure in the promotion of Cadence-lypso was the Dominican group Exile One (based on the island of Guadeloupe) that featured mostly the cadence rampa of Haiti and calypso music from the English speaking caribbean. [8] It was pushed in the 1970s by groups from Dominica, and was the first style of Dominican music to find international acclaim. [9]

Dominica cadence music has evolved under the influence of Dominican and Caribbean/Latin rhythms, as well as rock and roll, soul, and funk music from the United States. [10] By the end of the 1970s, Gordon Henderson defined Cadence-lypso as "a synthesis of Caribbean and African musical patterns fusing the traditional with the contemporary".

Aside from Exile One, other bands included the Grammacks, Black Roots, Black Machine, Naked Feet, Belles Combo, Mantra, Black Affairs, Liquid Ice, Wafrikai, Midnighte Groovers and Milestone, while the most famous singers included Bill Thomas, Chubby Marc, Gordon Henderson, Linford John, Janet Azouz, Sinky Rabess, Tony Valmond, Jeff Joseph, Mike Moreau, Anthony Gussie and Ophelia Marie.

Zouk

The inspiration for Zouk's style of rhythmic music comes from the Haitian compas, as well as music called cadence-lypso - Dominica cadence popularized by Grammacks and Exile One. Elements of gwo ka, tambour, ti bwa and biguine vidé are prominent in zouk. Though there are many diverse styles of zouk, some commonalities exist. The French Creole tongue of Martinique and Guadeloupe is an important element, and are a distinctive part of the music. Generally, zouk is based around star singers, with little attention given to instrumentalists, and is based almost entirely around studio recordings.

Music authors Charles De Ledesma and Gene Scaramuzzo trace zouk's development to the Guadeloupean gwo ka and Martinican bèlè (tambour and ti bwa) [11] folk traditions. Ethnomusicologist Jocelyn Guilbault, however, describes zouk as a synthesis of Caribbean popular styles, especially Dominica cadence-lypso, Haitian cadence, Guadeloupean biguine. [12] Zouk arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s, using elements of previous styles of Antillean music, as well as imported genres. [13]

Zouk-love

Zouk Love is the French Antilles cadence or compas, characterized by a slow, soft and sexual rhythm. The lyrics of the songs often speak of love and sentimental problems.

The music cabo-love from Cape Verde are also derivative of this French Antillean compas style, which sounds basically the same, although there are notable differences once you become more familiar with these genre. A main exponent of this subgenre is Ophelia Marie. Other Zouk Love artists come from the French West Indies, the Netherlands, and Africa.

Popular artists include French West Indian artists Edith Lefel and Nichols, or like Netherlands based Suzanna Lubrano and Gil Semedo, the African artist Kaysha.

Bouyon (Jump up)

Bouyon (Boo-Yon) is a form of popular music of Dominica. Bouyon was developed in the 1980s by bands like WCK, combining elements of kadans (or cadence-lypso), lapo kabwit drumming, the folk style jing-ping, and a quick-paced electronic drum pattern. More recently, deejays with raggamuffin-style vocals have moved to the fore, updating the sound for the New Generation.

In Guadeloupe and Martinique, "Jump up" refers generally to bouyon music.

French Antilles hip hop

The French Antilles hip hop is a style of hip hop music originating from the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean. Usually in French and Antillean creole, the French Antilles hip hop is most popular in the French Antilles and France.

Music festivals

Two large, international music festivals have further bolstered Martinique's music scene. Jazz à la Martinique and Carrefour Mondial de Guitare alternate years. The country's best jazz musicians are featured during Jazz à la Martinique, but major worldwide players like Branford Marsalis also perform. Honoring the guitar, Carrefour Mondial de Guitare celebrates a wide range of guitar genres, including flamenco, blues, jazz, rock, and pop. Both festivals last approximately a week, with concerts in various locations throughout Martinique. Recently, Franck Nicolas presented "Bélé-Jazz", a style of jazz using the bélé rhythms as its basis.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 Ledesma and Scaramuzzo, pgs. 289–303
  2. Gerstin
  3. "Martinique bélé". YouTube. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  4. "bélé dance and music". YouTube. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  5. "Dominica bèlè". YouTube. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  6. "YouTube:Martinican bèlè" . Retrieved September 10, 2005.
  7. Malena Kuss. Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: Volume 2 Performing the Caribbean Experience - An Encyclopedic History. The Universe of Music Inc. p. 253. ISBN   978-0-292-70951-5.
  8. Jocelyne Guilbault (1993-11-24). Zouk: world music in the West Indies. ISBN   9780226310428 . Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  9. Jocelyne Guilbault (1993-11-24). Zouk: world music in the West Indies. ISBN   9780226310428 . Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  10. Jocelyne Guilbault (1993-11-24). Zouk: world music in the West Indies. ISBN   9780226310428 . Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  11. "Martinican bèlè". YouTube. Retrieved September 10, 2005.
  12. Guilbault, Jocelyn, Gage Averill, Édouard Benoit and Gregory Rabess, Zouk: World Music in the West Indies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), cited in Manuel, pg. 142
  13. Jocelyne Guilbault (1993-11-15). Zouk: world music in the West Indies. ISBN   9780226310411 . Retrieved August 10, 2010.

Related Research Articles

The music of Haiti combines a wide range of influences drawn from the many people who have settled on this Caribbean island. It reflects French, African rhythms, Spanish elements and others who have inhabited the island of Hispaniola and minor native Taino influences. Styles of music unique to the nation of Haiti include music derived from rara parading music, twoubadou ballads, mini-jazz rock bands, rasin movement, hip hop Creòle, the wildly popular compas, and méringue as its basic rhythm. Haiti hadn't had a recorded music until 1937 when Jazz Guignard was recorded non-commercially. One of the most current popular Haitian artists is Wyclef Jean. His music is somewhat hip-hop mixed with worldbeat. Haitian music is influenced mostly by European colonial ties and African migration. In the case of European colonization, musical influence has derived primarily from the French.

The music of Guadeloupe encompasses a large popular music industry, which gained in international renown after the success of zouk music in the later 20th century. Zouk's popularity was particularly intense in France, where the genre became an important symbol of identity for Guadeloupe and Martinique. Zouk's origins are in the folk music of Guadeloupe and Martinique, especially Guadeloupan gwo ka and Martinican chouval bwa, and the pan-Caribbean calypso tradition.

Music of Dominica

The music of Dominica includes a variety of genres including all the popular genres of the world. Popular music is widespread, with a number of native Dominican performers gaining national fame in imported genres such as calypso, reggae, soca, kompa, zouk and rock and roll. Dominica's own popular music industry has created a form called bouyon, which combines elements from several styles and has achieved a wide fanbase in Dominica. Groups include WCK, Native musicians in various forms, such as reggae, kadans (Ophelia Marie, and calypso, have also become stars at home and abroad.

The music of the Lesser Antilles encompasses the music of this chain of small islands making up the eastern and southern portion of the West Indies. Lesser Antillean music is part of the broader category of Caribbean music; much of the folk and popular music is also a part of the Afro-American musical complex, being a mixture of African, European and indigenous American elements. The Lesser Antilles' musical cultures are largely based on the music of African slaves brought by European traders and colonizers. The African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes, while the European slaveholders added their own musics into the mix, as did immigrants from India. In many ways, the Lesser Antilles can be musically divided based on which nation colonized them.

Zouk is a musical movement pioneered by the French Antillean band Kassav' in the early 1980s. It has become undistinguishable from Compas. originally characterized by a fast tempo, a percussion-driven rhythm and a loud horn section. The fast zouk beton of Martinique and Guadeloupe, faded away in the same 80s. During the second half of the 1980s, a slow Compas romantic style, dubbed zouk-love, has been promoted The original faster style became known as "zouk béton", "zouk chiré" or "zouk hard".

Kassav' is a French Caribbean band formed in Guadeloupe in 1979. The core members of the band are Jocelyne Béroard, Jacob Desvarieux, Jean-Philippe Marthély, Patrick St. Eloi, Jean-Claude Naimro, Claude Vamur and Georges Décimus. Kassav' have issued over 20 albums, with a further 12 solo albums by band members.

Biguine is a rhythm-centric style of music that originated from Saint-Pierre, Martinique in the 19th century. It fuses Bèlè and 19th-century French ballroom dance steps with African rhythms.

Compas, is a modern Méringue dance music of Haiti. The genre was popularized following the creation of Ensemble Aux Callebasses in (1955), which became Ensemble Nemours Jean-Baptiste In 1957. Compas is the main music of several countries such as Dominica and the French Antilles. 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 influential in part of Africa, the Caribbean, Portugal, Cabo verde, France, part of Canada, South and North America.

Culture of Dominica

The culture of Dominica is formed by the inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Dominica is home to a wide range of people. Although it was historically occupied by several native tribes, the Taíno and Island Caribs (Kalinago) tribes remained by the time European settlers reached the island. "Massacre" is a name of a river dedicated to the murders of the native villagers by French and British settlers, because the river ran red with blood for days. Each claimed the island and imported slaves from Africa. The remaining Caribs now live on a 3,700-acre (15 km2) Carib Territory on the east coast of the island. They elect their own chief.

Cadence rampa or simply kadans, is a dance music and modern méringue popularized in the Caribbean by the virtuoso Haitian sax player Webert Sicot in the early 1960s. Cadence rampa was one of the sources of cadence-lypso. Cadence and Compas are two names for the same Haitian modern meringue.

Chouval bwa is a kind of folk music originated on the slave plantations of Martinique. There are two versions, traditional and modern. Chouval bwa has been popularized by artists such as Claude Germany, Tumpak, Dede Saint-Prix, and Pakatak.

Cadence-lypso is a fusion of cadence rampa from Haiti and calypso from Trinidad & Tobago that has also spread to other English speaking countries of the Caribbean. Originated in the 1970s by the Dominican band Exile One on the island of Guadeloupe, it spread and became popular in the dance clubs around the Creole world and Africa as well as the French Antilles.

Exile One is a cadence musical group founded by Gordon Henderson in the 1970s with musicians invited over from Dominica, to be based in Guadeloupe. The band was influential in the development of Caribbean music. It became famous throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean. Exile One opened the way for numerous Cadence-Lypso artists as well as for Zouk.

Experience 7 was a Guadeloupean kadans band formed in the mid-1970s, led by Guy Houllier and Yves Honore. However unlike Kassav' or Malavoi, the small band produced most songs with Henry Debs in Guadeloupe.

A bélé is a folk dance and music from Martinique, St. Lucia, Dominica, Haiti, Grenada, Guadeloupe, and Trinidad and Tobago. It may be the oldest Creole dance of the creole French West Indian Islands, and it strongly reflects influences from African fertility dances. It is performed most commonly during full moon evenings, or sometimes during funeral wakes. The dance is also popular in Saint Lucia. In Tobago, it is thought to have been performed by women of the planter class at social events in the planters' great houses, and the dress and dance style copied by the enslaved people who worked in or around these houses.

Bouyon is a genre of Dominican music that originated in Dominica in the late 1980s mainly with the group "WCK", with names such as Derek "Rah" Peters on vocals, Cornell Phillips keys and vocals among others, while bands such as the "Triple Kay" are very popular with "Carlyn XP" being the undisputed MCs for having won numerous contests. Dominican singers such as "Asa Banton", "Suppa" and "Gaza Girl" became popular years later.

Jing Ping is a kind of folk music originated on the slave plantations of Dominica, also known colloquially as an accordion band. Dominican folk music, jing ping bands accompany a circle dance called the flirtation, as well as the Dominican quadrille.

Culture of Martinique

As an overseas départment of France, Martinique's culture is French and Caribbean. Its former capital, Saint-Pierre, was often referred to as the Paris of the Lesser Antilles. Following French custom, many businesses close at midday, then reopen later in the afternoon. The official language is French, although many Martinicans speak a Creole patois. Based in French, Martinique's Creole also incorporates elements of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and African languages. Originally passed down through oral storytelling traditions, it continues to be used more often in speech than in writing.

Gramacks was a Cadence-lypso group from Dominica.

References

Further reading