The music of the French Antilles Part I

The music of the French Antilles encompasses the music of a number of islands that make up the eastern and southern part of the Antilles. It is composed of a mixture of Native American, African and European elements. African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes.

Former British colonies include Trinidad and Tobago, whose Calypso musical style is especially important.

 On the other hand, Kaseko, a genre from Suriname, is related to other local styles such as Winti and Kawina. In the context of English-speaking music, the term Antillean music usually refers to Trinidad and Tobago. Antillean music is characterized by the protagonism of the Carnival celebration. The best known French Creole music is associated with Martinique and Guadeloupe, although the islands of Saint Lucia and Dominica are also home to French Antillean music.

Martinique and Guadeloupe also have their own folkloric traditions, including the Gwo ka (Guadeloupe) and the Chouval bwa (Martinique) 

The Gwo ka is a type of percussion music that consists of playing seven basic rhythms and their variations. The Chouval bwa originated in the plantations of Martinique. There are two versions, the traditional and the modern.

música de las Antillas francesas

Kadans / Compas

In the 1970s, a group of Haitians, mostly musicians, arrived in Dominica and the French Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) carrying the Kadans, a sophisticated type of music that quickly triumphed on the islands.

Later, in the 1980s, the “Cadence-lypso”style appeared. Gordon Henderson and Exile One innovated this style, turning mini-jazz combos into big guitar bands dominated by synthesizers and paving the way for the success of major bands like Grammacks.

The Kadans evolved under the dominance of Dominican musicians and other Caribbean places, with influences from other styles such as Rock, Soul and Funk.

música de las Antillas francesas

Exile One

In 1969, Gordon Henderson founded a fusion band Kadans, Vikings of Guadeloupe, of which Pierre-Eduard Decimus was a member, later decided to start his own group and joined several Dominican musicians. This new group was called Exile One. During the 1970s, they initiated a fusion of Kadans and Calypso “Cadence-lypso” which later contributed to the creation of Soca music.

Calypso music



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