New Issue—Cahier du Patrimoine: Aux sources de la musique martiniquaise


A new issue of Cahier du Patrimoine, Number 30—Aux sources de la musique martiniquaise—is now available. This edition of Cahier du Patrimoine is devoted to Martinican music, its founding poetic, its sources and the first evolutions that gave birth to others. Montray Kréyol reviews:

This Cahier gives the floor to chroniclers who bear witness to the musical heritage of the Caribbean, the instruments used, the circumstances in which they devoted themselves to this music.

These same chroniclers attest to the progress of the music of slaves and their passion for music and dance. They did not hesitate to take long trips to gather around the drum. From this passion was born the bèlè, of which Lafcadio Hearn speaks in Esquisses martiniquaises, as well as competitions organized between famous tambouyés. The bèlè as a vector of Martinican identity and as a cultural activity, with its codes, its rules and its references, its meeting places, as analyzed by Edmond Mondésir and Monique Desroches, defines itself as a true endorsement of identity. David Khatile sees the ladja that accompanies it as a dynamic of rehumanization and reformulation of social and symbolic meanings in the history of our country.

Some music was dedicated specifically to historical or religious circumstances; this is how Lyne-Rose Beuze songs that denounced the slave trade and slavery. Sylvie Meslien addresses the issue of songs related to war written by Martinicans, while Monique Desroches is focuses on the Indian music of Martinique, which began with drum-based sacred music to evolve in later years.

David Khatile and Martine Flandrina analyze Haute Taille music [such as the contredanse or quadrille], work music and songs, chouval bwa, and carnival music as historically specific.

The biguine, as mutation of rural rhythms like Calenda and Bèlè, is analyzed in its evolution by Jacky Alpha, who also gives us a text on the Creole biguine as an example of musical and rhythmic syncretism. [. . .]

For original article (in French), see

Also see

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