Zouk

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This article is about the Caribbean carnival beat. For the Brazilian dance, see Zouk-Lambada.
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Zouk is a fast jump-up carnival beat originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, popularized by the French Antillean band Kassav' in the 1980s. Very rapid in tempo, the style lost ground in the 1980s due to the strong presence of kadans or compas, the main music of the French Antilles. Today, zouk is the French Antilles compas,[1] also called zouk-love.

Etymology[edit]

The Creole word zouke, sekwe, or zouke, etc. from the French verb secouer meaning "shake intensely and repeatedly" was used by Haitian artists who toured the French Antilles during the late 1970s and 1980s.[2]

The word zouk has, over time, come to mean "party" or "festival" in the local Antillean Creole of French.

Decline in popularity[edit]

Zouk was an attempt to develop a proper local music that would lessen or even eradicate the meringue-kadans or compas influence from the French islands. When the MIDI technology came out, Kassav' used it fully, creating new sound in both their fast zouk béton and compas. The Antilleans were all over with zouk. But as other bands from the Caribbean and Africa added the MIDI technology to their music people got used to it, because it was a jump up beat the fast zouk béton faded away In the same 1980s and Antilleans would continue to play and dance meringue-cadence or compas. After all, French Antilleans and Dominicans are important players of the style. However, the problem is that musicians from Martinique and Guadeloupe have calculatedly labeled compas as zouk or zouk-love in order to remain on the map (keeping in mind Compas was created in 1950 by Haitians); creating a big confusion in Africa, Cabo Verde, Angola, Bresil, Portugal and other places[citation needed]. Kassav', the originator of the zouk béton, is a compas music band that has taken compas to many places, and is the only band that continues to include zouk béton in its repertoire, though to a lesser extent.

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Gladys M. Francis, " Résister au compromis, crever la douleur, dire le silence : Entretien avec Jocelyne Béroard." In Amour, sexe genre et trauma dans la Caraïbe Francophone. Coll. Espaces Littéraires, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2016, p.227-250 (ISBN 978-2-3430-7395-8)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Manuel, Musics of the Non-Western World, Chicago press University 1988p74
  2. ^ Skah Sha and Magnum band were among the first Haitian music groups to use the word souke/zouke in the French Antilles. Magnum band, which toured the Caribbean countless times, once spent two years in Martinique and Guadeloupe. The band leader, guitar player Dadou Pasket, popularized the word zouke in many live tunes, especially on the album La seule difference, Ibo Records, 1981, in the song "pike devan" meaning "full speed ahead". During the same year "Les Skah sha #1 that frequently toured the French Antilles featured an LP album called This is it, produced by Mini Records, July 1981. "Zouke" is the second tune's title.