Quadrille music from the Antilles
November 2, 2009
My pal, blogger/journalist/musician extraordinaire llan Moss graciously provided me with the track from today’s post. While we are often exposed to island sounds from the former British colonies, it is not often that we hear old folk music from the Franco-African Caribbean. Though similar to the cajun tradition in some respects, it contains much more of the funky, rhythmic drive of Caribbean music.
There is evidently lots to explore in this subfield, but today I’m narrowing in on a world that I myself am not very acquainted with – the quadrille or kwadril dance music tradition of Guadeloupe. I am fascinated by the concept of a French court dance with militaristic origins popularized in 18th century France and brought to the islands to be creolized and transformed into groovy tropical square dance music. I’m looking forward to learning and hearing more and will fortunately be able to do so soon by way of a documentary by Stéphane Bunel on this tradition that is evidently in the works. For info, including some great movie and music clips, (be sure to go to the French version, as the English one isn’t up yet) go here. There are some amazing tunes on the “mizik” page (I also culled today’s image from his site)!
This is a track complete with caller, fiddler, bass, and rocking percussion led by Eli Cologer, who according to Ilan, was one of the last quadrille-style fiddlers in Guadeloupe until his death last year.
Quadrille – Elie Cologer
P.S. There is a Paris-based Antillais band, Caribop, whom I hope to hang with at some point and pick up a thing or ten!