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Music of Guadeloupe
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Regional music

Balakadri (called balkadri or kadri) is a traditional quadrille music that was performed for balls on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.


Guadeloupean balakadri persisted into the 20th century and, despite disruption after World War II, made a comeback in the 1980s. The Guadeloupean-administered island of Marie-Galante has also had a vital and well-documented balakadri tradition. As in Martinique (and the Creole-speaking islands of St Lucia and Dominica), kwadril dances are in sets consisting of proper quadrilles, plus creolized versions of 19th-century couple dances: biguines, mazouks and valses Créoles.

To save the Balakadri, an association was created: F.R.E.G.A.Q.(Regional Federation of Guadeloupe Activities Quadrille). Its purpose is to promote, transmit, store Balakadri which is part of the cultural patrimoine Guadeloupe.[1]

The first musicians to record on vinyl balakadri are:

  • Ariste Ramier
  • Commander Abel Marcille
  • Salt Iphano
  • Commander Grévius.


Instrumentation consists of variable combinations of accordion, guitar, violin, tanbou dibas, chacha (either a single metal cylinder as in Martinique, or a spherical calabash without a handle, held in both hands), malakach (maracas), triangle, bwa (tibwa) and syak, a bamboo rasp one metre long, grooved on both top and bottom, held with one end on the belly and the other on a door or wall and scraped with both hands. A konmandé completes the ensemble.


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