Friday, February 12, 2010

New to Me Music - GWO KA

In my weekly afro-dance class, we've started a new routine that is choreographed to a genre of music called Gwo-Ka. The song we're using is called "Colas-la" and it's by Claude Rolcin et le West Indian Combo off the "Tumbélé!" Biguine, afro & latin Sounds from the french Caribbean 1963-74.


Some Gwo-Ka background:

Gwo ka is a family of hand drums used to create a form of folk music from Guadeloupe. There are seven basic rhythms in gwo ka, and multiple variations on each. Different sizes of drums establish the foundation and its flourishes, with the largest, the boula, playing the central rhythm and the smaller, markeur (or maké) drums embellishes upon it and interplays with the dancers, audience or singer. Gwo ka singing is usually guttural, nasal and rough, though it can also be bright and smooth, and is accompanied by uplifting and complex harmonies and melodies.[1]

Rural Guadeloupans still use gwo ka drums in communal experiences called lewozes; this is the most traditional manifestation of gwo ka in modern Guadeloupe. Gwo ka is also played at Carnival and other celebrations. A modernized and popularized form of gwo ka is well-known on the islands; it is known as gwo ka moderne.[1]

Hope you enjoy!

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