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Friday, Sep 11 2009 | 14:22 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

6008Guadeloupe and Martinique are part of the Lesser Antilles, the eastern Caribbean island chain that also includes Dominica, St. Lucia and Marie-Galante. Along with La Guyane (on the South American mainland) and half of Saint Maarten, they are departments of France (Départements outre-mer) and are governed from Paris to this day.

This album focuses on the rich musical period of the ’60s and early ’70s on both islands, a time when Haitian compas, Congolese rumba and Cuban guaguanco combined with the local biguine style to create the sound of tumbélé, a uniquely French Antillean style that is partly a product of the colonial past of the Islands, in their position in the multi-cultural, multi-lingual “sixth continent” of the Caribbean.

Although European colonization has carved up the Caribbean into English-, Spanish- and French-speaking islands, there has been a huge amount of cultural interchange between these islands that has crossed the language barriers of the colonists. The mass movement of people between countries and continents has created one of the most culturally complex and fertile places on earth. Successive waves of immigrants (whether voluntary or forced) have all added elements from their homelands, and the music of Martinique and Guadeloupe is one of the most vital expressions of Caribbean culture.

The music on this album represents the shaping of a distinct musical identity – an identity that would give birth to zouk music in the late ’70s – which conquered much of the Caribbean and Africa in the ’80s. It contributed to the creation of a distinct créole identity, which has been shaped by France, Francophone Africa, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Cuba, but most importantly the musicians of Guadeloupe and Martinique and the rhythms of the biguine, the bélé and the gwo-ka.


01. Jeunesse Vauclin – Barel Coppet et Mister Lof
02. Jet Biguine – Les Loups Noirs D’Haïti
03. Pas O Soué La – Abel Zénon
04. Manzè Mona – Raphaël Zachille
05. Henri Te Vlé Mayé – Robert Mavounsy Quartet
06. La Vie Critique – L’Orchestre Jeunesse de Paul-Emile Haliar
07. Mussieu A Têt’a Poisson La – Orchestre Combo Zombi et Michel Yéyé
08. Oriza – Les Kings
09. Colas-la – Claude Rolcin et Le West Indian Combo
10. Ti Fi La Ou Té Madam’ – Anzala, Dolor, Vélo
11. D’Leau Coco – Les Leopards
12. Jojo – Ensemble La Perfecta
13. Dima Bolane – Le Ry-co Jazz
14. Edamise Oh! – Lola Martin
15. Chombo Meringue – Les Aiglons de Basse Terre
16. Son Tambou La – Les Gentlemens
17. Chonga – L’Ensemble Abricot
18. Fileo – Francisco
19. Panty – Monsieur Dolor et Les Guitar Boys
20. Jean Fouillé, Pie Fouillé – Robert Loison

The compilation VariousTumbele! Biguine, Afro And Latin Sounds From The French Caribbean, 1963–74” (Soundway Records) is going to be released October 2, 2009.

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