Antilles Mechant Bateau

  • $18.99

Biguine is a rhythmic style of music that originated in Guadeloupe and Martinique in the 19th century, which fuses 19th-century French ballroom dance steps with African rhythms. Gwo Ka is found among all ethnic and religious groups of Guadeloupean society. It combines responsorial singing in Guadeloupean Creole, rhythms played on the Ka drums and dancing. Gwo Ka is the musical and cultural product of the region’s African ancestry, forcibly brought to the Caribbean through slavery. Gwo Ka exists only in Guadeloupe, which is a very different island from much of the Caribbean, in that it remains a ‘department’ of its original colonial master, France. Here the currency is the Euro and the baker sells croissants and café au lait. This constant ‘European-ising’ of the island means that Gwo Ka plays a fundamental and important role in the defining of Guadeloupean identity. Antilles’ Méchant Bateau, a low-tempo number with a bolero feel, indeed a pure case of the blues, and a terrific saxophone solo. What else would you expect to set the tone for this selection, in which beguine regains its original colours, in the darkness of the Gwo Ka drums. This 45 by André Mahy, released under the Aux Ondes sublabel, was recorded in the 1960s at Célini’s, one of Guadeloupe’s two main houses. Through its drum rolls and harrowing chant, it recalled how, long before the mid-1960s, the Antilles’ history was written in an ocean of teardrops - namely the Black Atlantic.

CD - Digipack with 16 Page Booklet.

LP - With 4 Page Booklet and Download.