Cadence rampa

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Cadence rampa (also known as kadans ranpa[1] in creole or simply kadans) is a modern Haitian méringue, popularized by the virtuoso Haitian sax player Webert Sicot in the early 60s. Sicot left Nemours Jean-Baptiste compas band and called his music cadence to differentiate it from konpa especially when he took it abroad, however, either one is the same modern meringue. Only rivalry between Sicot and Nemours created these names. The Sicot brothers, Maestro Webert Sicot and brilliant composer Raymond Sicot, well regarded in the Caribbean for their rigorous harmonic skills, introduced the meringue-cadence to the French Antilles of Martinique & Guadeloupe around 1962.[2]

Later, because of their frequent tours cadence became very influential in the Caribbean, specifically, Dominica, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad, the French Antilles, etc.

In the French Antilles, kadans is the creole term for cadence rampa, while in Dominica it is called cadence-lypso.


Webert Sicot left Nemours Jean-Baptiste compas band and called his music cadence to differentiate it from compas especially when he took it abroad, however, either compas or cadence is a modern méringue. Only the rivalery between Sicot and Nemours created these names.

Raymond had created a new rhythm "cadence rampa" to counter compas, but it was only in a spirit of competition. It was to be danced like a sweeping of the floor with one’s feet or as if one slid the feet back and forth on the floor. The rest of the body swung from side to side exactly the same as for dancing compas direct. Soon, the public realized that cadence rampa, far from being original, was just an astute rearrangement of compas direct and without losing interest in it, did not find it consequential enough to deserve their applause. Besides, the Sicot Brothers were not as prolific as Nemours and did not release enough new albums, notwithstanding the fact that they were consummate musicians.

Sicot must have known that he did not have a winner with cadence rampa since he did not insist on challenging Nemours very long. Even as early as the 1957, he was seen performing in public with Nemours. While the public thought that they were each other’s enemies, Nemours and Webert were socializing. André Dorismond and Gary French, singers for Sicot’s orchestra were friends with Louis Lahens and Jean-Claude Félix (aka Ti Jean-Claude), singers for Nemours. When Haitians began to emigrate to the US in the early seventies, the fame of cadence rampa suddenly dwindled because most of its supporters had left Haiti. Eventually, Webert Sicot traveled to New York and continued to play there, but cadence rampa’s success in Haiti was short-lived. Actually, the growing success of Nemours Jean-Baptiste throughout the years out and inside the country popularized the name compas, the same méringue.

Kadans in the Caribbean[edit]

As early as 1962 the Sicot Brothers from Haiti would frequently tour the Caribbean, especially Dominica, the French Islands of Martinique & Guadeloupe and others to spread the seed of cadence.

Webert Sicot, the originator of the first cadence band, recorded three LPs albums with French Antilles Promoters: two in Guadeloupe "Cilini disques" and one in Martinique "Balthazar". Often the band had a six months-contract to perform every week in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Many Haitian artists have since toured the French Caribbean on a regular basis with their powerful méringue (compas or cadence) for the great pleasure of these friendly people, nice public who have since adopted the dance and the music style.

Haitian bands were asked to integrate Antillean musicians thus Haitian influential Les Guais troubadours had French Antillean musicians. Guais troubadour, with influential singer Louis Lahens played a very important role in the schooling of Antillean to the méringue-compas music style. The band that recorded more than 3 albums in the French Antilles, was also the a coaching band for the French Antilleans to the style.

From the 50s-60s, talented Haitian artists and leading bands such as the Sicot brothers (Webert and Raymond), Joe Troillot, Nemours Jean-Baptiste, the very talented Maestro Michel Desgrottes, Garry French, Emile Volel, Ensembe Les guais troubadours with the popular Louis Lahens, orchestre Citadelle, jazz Guignard, etc. introduced their méringue (compas or cadence) to the Caribbean. Boa des iles and la Bananeraie would be favorite night-clubs for these bands. In Martinique, several music groups became popular with Nemours' compas tunes. Ensemble Abricots (Bienvenue, festival-compas), Les Djoubap’s (Isabelle), Combo Jazz (electronique compas, pa gadem sou cote), Georges Plonquitte (vini danse compas direct) etc. have all within a year conquered the public with the many tunes or compositions of Nemours.[3]

From the 60s-80s, les Vickings, Les loups noirs, les ambassadeurs, les shleu shleu, ibo combo, Etoile du soir, les difficiles de Petion, les Gypsies de Pétionville, Tabou combo, Les Freres Dejean, les blousons verts, volo volo, Jet-X, Afro combo, Toto necessite, Rodrigue Millien, Coupe Cloue, Shougar combo, Les skah shah, Magnum band, Tropicana, Septan Trional and a great many have all toured in these Islands to coach artists. These were followed by the Antillean mini-jazz bands like Les Gentlemen, Les Vikings de Guadeloupe, Les Leopards, Tabou # 2...and bands like Exile One, grammacks, la Perfecta, Simon Jurade, kassav, etc.

Cadence-lypso (Dominica Kadans)[edit]

Main article: Cadence-lypso

Cadence-lypso is the Dominican kadans. The leading figure in the promotion of the Cadence-lypso was the Dominican group Exile One (based on the island of Guadeloupe) that combined elements of the Haitian Cadence rampa or compas with the Trinidadian calypso,[4] hence the name cadence-lypso; however, most of the bands repertoire was kadans.[5] This fusion of kadans and calypso accounts only for a small percentage of the band's repertoire: Exile One like all Dominica kadans bands featured reggae, calypso and mostly kadans or compas music.

Gordon Henderson, the band leader and founder coined the name "Cadence-lypso" as the new name for his kadans. Gordon Henderson's Exile One was the first to use the newely arrived synthesizers in kadans. Many mini-jazz from Haiti and the French Antilles followed this format. Exile One exported kadans music to many places: Japan, the Indian Ocean, Africa, North America, Europe, The Cape Verde islands.

Aside from Exile One, other cadence bands included the Grammacks,[6] Black Roots, Black Machine, Naked Feet, Belles Combo, Mantra, Black Affairs, Liquid Ice, Wafrikai, Midnighte Groovers and Milestone, while the most famous singers included Bill Thomas, Chubby Marc, Gordon Henderson, Linford John, Janet Azouz, Sinky Rabess, Tony Valmond, Jeff Joseph, Mike Moreau and Anthony Gussie. Ophelia Marie is a popular singer of cadence in the 1980s.

Musical features of cadence[edit]

Cadence music is characterized by a constant up tempo rhythm, hence the name cadence. Its percussive aspect come from the drum, an accentuated use of cymbals and, to a lesser extent, the high hat plus a distinct beat of the cowbell, tok, to-tok, tok-tok-tok, and conga drum beating a dash of méringue.

Notable cadence orchestras[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Manuel, Peter with Kenneth Bilby, Michael Largey (2006). Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae. p. 161. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Pintade Wikipedia editor, 2008
  3. ^ Dominique Janvier, introduction in Nemours' Album cover 1980, long vie to Nemours
  4. ^ By Paul Crask. "Zouk -Dominica". The Dominican. Reprinted from National Geographic. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Most of these bands featured separated calypso, reggae and cadence tunes. Review Exile one CD 40 anniversary, Grammack collection 74-76 and others available at amazon music