Marie-Héléna Laumuno’s Gwoka et politique en Guadeloupe 1960-2003: 40 ans de construction du “pays” was published this summer (July, 2011) by Editions de L’Harmattan.
Description: In Guadeloupe, song is “an art of living” that transmits society’s codes and values of. It is a mirror of the culture. It is essentially its conduit. It is not surprising that [gwoka songs were] assigned a political mission by authors and composers between the 1960s and the early twenty-first century. Their texts are indicative of this dimension. They provide information on the sense of belonging of Guadeloupe to the state, namely France, and on the grounding of the link creating the trust of citizens.
Marie-Héléna Laumuno teaches history at the Collège Faustin Fléret in Morne-à-l’Eau, Guadeloupe. Through a careful semantic analysis of the use of certain Creole words in gwoka, Laumuno highlights the role of this musical genre in the ideological and political construction of Guadeloupe. Studying the strong patriotic resonance of Creole lexicon, she sees gwoka as a “call to resistance and emancipation.” The author is a member of a committee for the preservation of popular dance and music forms and other elements of Caribbean culture in Guadeloupe—“Le comité bokantaj pou gwoka” of the Rèpriz Center.
For purchasing information and original description (in French), see http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=livre&no=34592
For more on Centre Rèpriz, see http://www.repriz-cmdtp.org/missions
Photo: Festival de Gwo Ka de Sainte Anne, which took place the week of July 9-14, 2011