Music and danse in Guadeloupe Archipelago

Guadeloupe Archipelago has a multi-faceted identity where Indian rite, African memory and the rule of the 17th-century colonists are part of everyday life. This is the reason why music and therefore dance are extremely diversified but are always an opportunity to gather the population to celebrate any kind of event. Let’s have a brief look at them.

The population enjoys many traditional music and dance styles including:

– The “Gwo Ka” which combines dance, drumming and singing is the traditional music that has started at the beginning of the 18th century during the slavery period. The “Gwo ka” celebrates the traditional drum rhythm that has been at the heart of the French Caribbean culture for centuries. The “Gwo-ka” has 7 rhythms: Léwoz, Toumblak, Graj, Woulé, Kaladja, Menndé and Padjanbel

– The “Quadrille” is native to Europe. However, the dance combines African and European styles. The musical instruments used are the accordion, the violin, the guitar, the shac-shac and a hand drum. As a complex type of music, the quadrille requires experimented musicians. There are different figures depending on the rhythm.

– The “Biguine” is another popular music of the early 19th. The name “Biguine” is coming from the English word “begin” because that was the dance to start the ball. The orchestra is composed of a clarinet, a trombone and a banjo. The traditional outfit is a dress called “doudou” for women and a suit for men

– The “Zouk” is very popular in Guadeloupe Archipelago. It is one of the youngest musical styles as the first band has been created in the late 19th precisely at the end of 1970. Over the years the zouk has tremendously changed especially with various kind of zouk such as “zouk love”, “ragga-zouk” or “zouk RnB”

– The “Dancehall” is another recent musical style in Guadeloupe Archipelago. “Dancehall” music is native to Jamaica and the name refers to the location where there are sound systems


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