Encyclopedia > Music of Martinique and Guadeloupe

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Music of Martinique and Guadeloupe

The former French colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe are small islands in the Caribbean. Despite their small size, Martinique especially has had a profound influence on the music of the Caribbean basin and the world as a whole.

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Biguine Biguine[?] is a Martinican form of clarinet and trombone music which can be divided into two distinct types:

Chouval bwa Chouval bwa[?] features percussion, bamboo flute, accordion and wax-paper/comb-type kazoo. The music originated among rural Martinicans. Since its development, chouval bwa has diversifed into genres like zouk chouv[?], which includes electric instrumentation.

Gwo ka Gwo ka[?] is a family of hand drums used to create a form of folk music from Guadeloupe. It is often accompanied it by another type of percussion instrument called twi ba[?] as well as vocal elements.

Kadans In the 1970s, a wave of Haitian immigrants to Martinique brought with them the kadans[?], a sophisticated form of music that quickly swept the island and helped united all the former French colonies of the Caribbean by combining their cultural influences. Unlike biguine and earlier folk musics, kadans soon brought professional bands to Martinique.

Zouk Kadans dominated Martinican music until the mid-1980s, when zouk[?] appeared as a combination of Indian, European, African and American musics. The band Kassav[?] remain perhaps the best known zouk group. Kassav drew in influences from balakadri[?] and bal granmoun[?] dances, biguines and mazurkas, along with more contemporary Caribbean influences like reggae and salsa music. Zouk live shows soon began to draw on American and European rock and heavy metal traditions, and the genre spread across the world, primarily in developing countries.

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