28 December 2009

Monday's mp3: Sparkling Oldies from the French Caribbean

various artists: Tumbélé! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74 (Soundway)

2009 has seen a number of African retrospective albums, but this is the only one I know of from the French Caribbean. Indeed, one is hard-pressed to find much music at all from Guadeloupe and Martinique, which makes this CD welcome indeed. Afro-Latin is the general theme here and listeners may recognized rhythms and other styles similar to English-language music from the region, though none of these French-speaking artists are familiar to me.

These are not the dry, dusty recordings of some forgotten ethnomusicologist exploring the music of primitives on a desert island. The very urban sounds of jazz, calypso, rumba, and biguine blend with gwo-ka drumming and call-and-response vocals in fascinating combinations. Apparently this blending was somewhat scandalous at the time, and today it still sounds unique and fresh. Just check out the electric guitar and horn solos on "Jojo," or the odd, frantic combination of surf guitar, organ, and sax driving "Jet Biguine." You'll have a hard time listening to this music and not wishing you were there in the islands, experiencing it live back in the day. Another winner from Soundway!

[mp3] Les Loups Noirs D'Haiti: Jet Biguine
from Tumbélé! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74

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Complete Tracklist:
1. Jeunesse Vauclin – Barel Coppet et Mister Lof
2. Jet Biguine – Les Loups Noirs D’Haïti
3. Pas O Soué La – Abel Zénon
4. Manzè Mona – Raphaël Zachille
5. Henri Te Vlé Mayé – Robert Mavounsy Quartet
6. La Vie Critique – L’Orchestre Jeunesse de Paul-Emile Haliar
7. Mussieu A Têt’a Poisson La – Orchestre Combo Zombi et Michel Yéyé
8. Oriza – Les Kings
9. 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
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