Zouk

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Zouk
Stylistic originsKadans, Cadence-lypso, Kompa, Bèlè, Biguine, Gwo ka, and other Caribbean rhythms.
Cultural originsEarly to mid-1980s, Guadeloupe & Martinique, Dominica, Haiti
Typical instrumentsTraditional: rhythm section: bèlè, makè and boula drums, tibwa, rattle chacha,[1] brass section, two synthesizers, guitar, bass guitar. Contemporary:
Zouk-love use synthesizers and drum machines especially.
Fusion genres
Afro zouk - Zouk chouv - Kuduro - Gumbe - Zouk bass - Coupe-Decale - Kizomba
Regional scenes
French West Indies -Haiti- West Africa - Brazil - France
 
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Zouk
Stylistic originsKadans, Cadence-lypso, Kompa, Bèlè, Biguine, Gwo ka, and other Caribbean rhythms.
Cultural originsEarly to mid-1980s, Guadeloupe & Martinique, Dominica, Haiti
Typical instrumentsTraditional: rhythm section: bèlè, makè and boula drums, tibwa, rattle chacha,[1] brass section, two synthesizers, guitar, bass guitar. Contemporary:
Zouk-love use synthesizers and drum machines especially.
Fusion genres
Afro zouk - Zouk chouv - Kuduro - Gumbe - Zouk bass - Coupe-Decale - Kizomba
Regional scenes
French West Indies -Haiti- West Africa - Brazil - France
Music of Martinique
General topics
Related articles
Genres
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthemLa Marseillaise
Regional music
Music of Haiti
General topics
Related articles
Genres
Media and performance
Music awardsHaitian Music Award
Music festivalsCarnival
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthemLa Dessalinienne
Regional music

Zouk or zouk béton is a fast tempo carnival style of music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, popularized by the French Antilles kassav in the 1980s. The style lost ground in the 80s due to the strong presence of compas music, the main music of the French Antilles.

Zouk means "party", well-named because it uses French creole rhythms and contains West African influences. Zouk arose in the early to mid-1980s from kadans. Elements of gwo ka, tambour, ti bwa and biguine vidé are prominent in zouk. The French Creole tongue of Martinique and Guadeloupe is an important element, and are a distinctive part of the music.

In Africa, Kassav's zouk and mostly the Haitian compas music they feature gained popularity in francophone and lusophone countries. In Europe, it was particularly popular in France and in North America in the Canadian province of Quebec.

History[edit]

Haitian Méringue-cadence or compas music has been the leading style of the Antilles music scene since its introduction in the late 1950s. During the 1970s Antillean and Dominican musicians became important players in the style with solid bands such as La Perfecta, Exile One, Grammacks, and Simon Jurade, etc.

In 1969, Gordon Henderson decided that the French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe had everything he needed to begin a career in Creole music. Gordon Henderson joined forces with the famous cadence band called the Vikings of Guadeloupe. The Vikings are considered the precursors of Kassav' whose co-founder Pierre Edouard Decimus was a member of the group. Gordon recorded a few songs with Les Vikings which became instant hits in countries beyond the usual market such as Surinam and Holland. At some point he felt that he should start his own group and asked a former school friend Fitzroy Williams to recruit a few Dominicans to complete those he had already selected. The group was named Exile One.

In the late 1960s, the Dominican band Exile One, settled in Guadeloupe due to the lack of recording studios back home. In the early 1970s, Exile One called its repertoire cadence-lypso featuring the Trinidadian calypso and mostly Haitian compas/cadence rampa or kadans. Dominican kadans bands quickly became popular in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean; France, Latin America and Africa.

Exile One, Les Aiglons, Grammacks, Midnight Groovers and Liquid Ice were all important kadans bands. The Dominican band Exile One led by the talented Gordon Henderson introduced a full-horn section and synthesizers to their music that other young cadence or compas bands from Haiti (mini-jazz) and the French Antilles emulated in the mid 1970s. Exile One was the most promoted creole band of the Caribbean. The first to sign a production contract with a major label call Barclay Records. The first to export kadans music to the four corners of the globe: Japan, the Indian Ocean, Africa, North America, Europe, The Cape Verde islands.

In 1978, Pierre Edouard Decimus relocated in Paris after a successful career in the French Antilles. Pierre Edouard Decimus was on the verge of retirement from the music business until he and his brother Georges Decimus met fellow Guadeloupean Jacob Desvarieux, a popular guitarist/songwriter kwown in Paris as a studio wizard. The surroundings of the Paris music recording technology gave him the idea of making "just one more record". Subsequently, Pierre Edouard Decimus, his brother, and Jacob Desvarieux pulled together a team of Paris-based Antilles musicians and created a group named Kassav' and a new sound called zouk.

The original Kassav' was all Guadeloupean but was later joined by Martiniquans Jean-Claude Naimro, Claude Vamur, Jean-Phillipe Marthely, Jocelyne Béroard and Guadeloupean Patrick St-Eloi . Kassav' created its own style by introducing an eleven-piece gwo ka unit and two lead singers, tambour, ti bwa, biguine, cadence-lypso: calypso and mostly cadence or compas with full use of the MIDI technology. Originally, Kassav' style had a certain political dimension. Their famous song "zouk-la se sel medikaman nou ni" implied that zouk constituted a banner for the cultural unity of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Kassav created the fast zouk style but remains mostly a great compas music band.

Music authors Charles De Ledesma and Gene Scaramuzzo trace zouk's development to the Guadeloupean gwo ka and Martinican bèlè (tambour and ti bwa)[2] folk traditions. Ethnomusicologist Jocelyn Guilbault, however, describes zouk as a synthesis of Caribbean popular styles, especially Dominica cadence-lypso, Haitian cadence, Guadeloupean biguine.[3] Zouk arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s, using elements of previous styles of Antillean music, as well as imported genres.[4]

Kassav[edit]

Kassav was formed in 1979 by Pierre-Edouard Décimus (former musicians from the Les Vikings de Guadeloupe) and Paris studio musician Jacob F. Desvarieux. Together and under the influence of well-known Dominican and Guadeloupean kadans or compas bands like Experience 7, Grammacks and Exile One,[5] they decided to make compas and Guadeloupean carnival music recording it in a more fully orchestrated yet modern and polished style. Kassav' created its own style call zouk béton by introducing an eleven-piece gwo ka unit and two lead singers, tambour, ti bwa, biguine, cadence-lypso: calypso and mostly cadence or compas with full use of the MIDI technology.

In the 1980s they took Caribbean music to another level by recording in the new digital format. Their first album, Love and Ka Dance (1980), established the sound of zouk. They continued to grow more popular, both as a group and with several members' solo careers, finally peaking in 1984 with Yélélé, which featured the international hit "Zouk-la-sé Sel Médikaman Nou Ni". With this hit, zouk rapidly became the most widespread dance craze to hit Latin American in some time, and was wildly popular even as far afield as Europe and Asia. Zouk became known for wildly theatrical concerts featuring special effects spectacles, colorful costumes and outrageous antics.

With Kassav's popularity, zouk and mostly the compas music they feature became the most widespread dance to hit the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. Kassav music has thrilled and inspired millions of fans from around the world. The influence of Kassav has been felt in Brazilian lambada and other Caribbean styles like bouyon, soca and combined rhythm, as well as African styles such as soukous, Zouglou, Coupe-Decale, and Gumbe.

Etymology[edit]

The word zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local Antillean Creole of French, although the word originally referred to, and is still used to refer to, a popular dance, based on the Polish dance, the mazurka (mazouk), that was introduced to the French Caribbean in the 19th century.

Actually the Creole word zouke, sekwe, zouke, etc. from the French verb "secouer" meaning "shake intensely and repeatedly" was used by Haitian artists who toured the French Antilles during the late 1970s and 1980s.[6]

The dictionary Le Petit Robert gives the following definition of zouk: "Very rhythmic music and dance originating in the Lesser Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) in 1980".

Origins[edit]

Zouk béton and mostly compas or cadence are the popular music of the French Antilles of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Cadence-lypso[edit]

Cadence-lypso is Dominica cadence/kadans of the 1970s. Leading bands such as Grammacks and Exile One featured the Haitian kompa and calypso,[7] and sometimes referred to as the Dominican version of kadans.[8]

Dominica cadence became the most popular musical form in the kwéyòlpal Caribbean during the 1970s. During that time, the music developed and evolved, reaching a zenith in the period from 1978 to 1980's, and then took a downturn, by which time it had become a factor in the development of zouk music.[9]

Zouk béton[edit]

Guadeloupeans Jacob Desvarieux and the brothers Decimus are widely credited for having created the fast carnival zouk béton phenomenon in the high-tech recording studios of Paris in the 1980s.

Zouk béton is a mix of African styles, gwo ka, tambour, ti bwa, biguine, cadence-lypso: calypso and mostly cadence with full use of the MIDI technology. The band drew in influences from balakadri and bal granmoun dances, biguine's and mazurka's.

The style lost ground in the 80s due to the strong presence of cadence or compas music, the main music of the French Antilles.

Notable French Antillean zouk or konpa artists[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Manuel, Peter (2001). "Indo-Caribbean Music". Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. New York and London: Garland Publishing. pp. 918–918. ISBN 0-8240-6040-7. 
  2. ^ "Martinican bèlè". YouTube. Retrieved September 10, 2005. 
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ Neva Wartell. "Zouk - Tracing the History of the Music to its Dominican Roots". The Dominican. Reprinted from National Geographic. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  6. ^ Skah Sha and Magnum band were among the first Haitian music groups to use the word souke/zouke in the French Antilles. Magnum band, which toured the Caribbean countless times has once spent two years in Martinique and Guadeloupe. The band leader, superb guitar player Dadou Pasket popularized the word zouke in many live tunes; especially in the album "La seule difference, Ibo Records, 1981, in the song "pike devan" meaning full speed ahead. During the same year "Les Skah sha #1 that frequently toured the French Antilles featured a nice LP album called "This is it" Produced by Mini Records, July 1981. Zouke is the second tune's title
  7. ^ Crask, Paul (2007). Dominica. Bradt. p. 15. ISBN 9781841622170. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ Malena Kuss, ed. (2007). Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History. Volume 2: Performing the Caribbean Experience. U of Texas P. p. 305. ISBN 9780292784987. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 

External links[edit]