Tumbélé! Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963​-​74

by Various Artists

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about

Soundway presents Tumbélé! – Biguine, afro & latin sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74 – a look at the unique and overlooked sounds from the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Lilting biguines, heavy gwo ka drums and tumbélé rhythms collide with the sounds of the carnival. Haitian, Congolese and Puerto Rican influences are added to the pot in a percussive celebration of Afro-Caribbean spirit.

Martinique and Guadeloupe are overseas departements of France, situated in the Eastern Caribbean island chain of the Lesser Antilles. Successive waves of immigrants and a strong French colonial presence have combined to produce a strong musical culture that takes in African and latin rhythms alongside Jazz, calypso and the local biguine style.

Often overlooked in the English speaking Caribbean, the scattering drums and soaring clarinets of the biguine ruled the airwaves and dancefloors of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the 1960s.

This album showcases the vibrancy of the scene on the islands in the ’60s and ’70s – a scene that would go on to develop the all-conquering sound of zouk in the ’80s. Uptown bands like Ensemble La Perfecta and Les Loups Noirs combine heavy rhythms and psychedelic effects in an inimitable style – check out the crazed Jet Biguine for a better idea! The deep and introspective sounds of Monsieur Dolor and Guadeloupean hero Robert Loison show the deep African roots of the music – songs born out of the plantations, with an insistent rhythm and mournful vocals that are unique to these islands.

Overlooked outside of Paris, Montreal and the French Caribbean for many years, this collection redresses the balance by presenting the vital sounds of Martinique and Guadeloupe – missing pieces of the musical jigsaw puzzle of the Caribbean.

“The music is a revelation”
-MOJO

“The perfect primer for anyone looking for a new aspect to West Indian music beyond reggae and dub”
-Clash Music

credits

released May 10, 2009

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Soundway Records UK

"Simply put, England's Soundway label equals quality. " Pitchfork

Founded in 2002 by English DJ and Producer Miles Cleret, Soundway Records has released a number of critically acclaimed compilation albums and re-issues of African, Caribbean, Latin and Asian music from the 1950s-80s.

Since 2012, the label has also begun to issue original contemporary releases from around the world.
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