Zouk-love is the French Antilles cadence or compas music, characterized by a slow, soft and sexual rhythm. The lyrics of the songs often speak of love and sentimental problems.
In Africa, it is popular in Franco and lusophone countries. In Europe, it is particularly popular in France, and in North America in the Canadian province of Quebec.
As early as the late 50s Nemours and the Sicot Brothers from Haiti would frequently tour the Caribbean, especially Dominica and the French Islands of Martinique & Guadeloupe to spread the seed of the méringue-cadence.
Webert Sicot, the originator of cadence recorded three LPs albums with French Antilles producers: two with "Celini disques" in Guadeloupe and one with "Balthazar" in Martinique. In addition to the Sicot brothers, almost all existing Haitian compas bands have toured these Islands that have since adopted the music and the dance of the méringue.
These were followed by the Antillean mini-jazz bands like Les Gentlemen, Les Vikings de Guadeloupe, Les Leopards...and later bands like Exile One, la Perfecta, Grammacks, Simon Jurade, etc.
Cadence-lypso (Dominica Kadans):
The most influential figure in the promotion of Cadence-lypso was the Dominican group Exile One (based on the island of Guadeloupe) that featured the Trinidadian calypso, the Jamaican reggae and mostly the Haitian Cadence rampa or compas music Calypso and kadans or compas music were the two dominant style in the country hence the name cadence-lypso; however, most of the bands repertoire was kadans.
Gordon Henderson, the band leader and founder coined the name "Cadence-lypso" for kadans. Exile one was the first to use the newly arrived synthesizers in kadans followed by some mini jazz in Haiti and the French Antilles. Exile One exported kadans music to many places: Japan, the Indian Ocean, Africa, North America, Europe, The Cape Verde islands.
Aside from Exile One, other kadans bands included the Experience 7, Grammacks, Black Roots, Black Machine, Naked Feet, Belles Combo, Mantra, Black Affairs, Liquid Ice, Wafrikai, Midnighte Groovers and Milestone, while the most famous singers included Bill Thomas, Chubby Marc, Gordon Henderson, Linford John, Janet Azouz, Sinky Rabess, Tony Valmond, Jeff Joseph, Mike Moreau and Anthony Gussie. Ophelia Marie is a popular singer of cadence in the 1980s.
Grammacks, Exile One, Ophelia Marie, and many Dominican bands played kadans or compas music.
See also: Kassav and Zouk
In 1978, Pierre Edouard Decimus relocated in Paris after a successful career in the French Antilles. Pierre Edouard Decimus was on the verge of retirement from the music business until he and his brother Georges Decimus met fellow Guadeloupean Jacob Desvarieux, a popular guitarist/songwriter kwown in Paris as a studio wizard. The surroundings of the Paris music recording technology gave him the idea of making "just one more record". The idea was to make an internationalized Tabou Combo Subsequently, Pierre Edouard Decimus, his brother, and Jacob Desvarieux pulled together a team of Paris-based Antilles musicians and created a compas music group named Kassav' and a new sound called zouk.
Kassav was formed in 1979 by Pierre-Edouard Décimus (former musicians from the Les Vikings de Guadeloupe) and Paris studio musician Jacob F. Desvarieux together and under the influence of well-known kadans or compas bands like Tabou Combo, Experience 7, Grammacks and Exile One.
The original Kassav' was all Guadeloupean but was later joined by Martiniquans Jean-Claude Naimro, Claude Vamur, Jean-Phillipe Marthely, Jocelyne Béroard and Guadeloupean Patrick St-Eloi. In the 1980s they took Caribbean music to another level by recording in the new digital format. Kassav created the fast zouk style but remains mostly a great compas music band.
The word zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local Antillean Creole of French, although the word originally referred to, and is still used to refer to, a popular dance, based on the Polish dance, the mazurka (mazouk), that was introduced to the French Caribbean in the 19th century.
Actually the Creole word zouke, sekwe, zouke, etc. from the French verb "secouer" meaning "shake intensely and repeatedly" was used by Haitian artists who toured the French Antilles during the late 1970s and 1980s.
The dictionary Le Petit Robert gives the following definition of zouk: "Very rhythmic music and dance originating in the Lesser Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) in 1980".
New Generation/Digital era:
The new generation was a moment of experiment with the MIDI technology. In the mid 80's, French Antilles Kassav, which music repertoire is 90% compas music, was the first in the Caribbean to apply the MIDI technology, already in used in rock and pop bands, to compas music. In the late 80's, After Robert Charlot Raymonvil came out with Top Vice, young Haitian music groups applied the MIDI technology that reduced the band's size and offered a variety of new sounds. They were called nouvelle generation; however, most of them later, along with many other musicians in the world, went back to a full band with live instruments.
In the early 2000, several nouvelle generation compas bands such as Carimi, T-Vice, Top Vice, and Zeglen toured the French Antilles as usual with success. The singer Vro who sang in duet with Robert Charlot on her album Softcore and many other Antillean artists have adopted this light compas style, which is more popular in France and the Caribbean. The compas' fine guitar lines with the chorus and other synthesizer effects is being heard now in zouk, the French Antilles compas music. For example, French Antilles singer Tanya St. Val who has collaborated with many great Haitian compas artists like Alan Cave, Dadou Pasket from the great Magnum band, etc. is very close to this style. The beauty of this is that these compas lands influence one another with nice chorus, guitar lines, female voices...within the team up of the conga-drum-cowbell.
Cabo Verdean, Caribbean and African artists usually feature one another via compas songs. A review of several CDs from African, Cabo Verdean, French Antilles and Haitian artists shows many similarities.
Notable French Antillean compas artists:
Ophelia Marie Aye Dominique,
Alex Catherine Moin pépa oubliéw, Rété, Belle, Silence, lona,
Annick et Jean-Claude sentimental, tendresse matinale, opération jargon,
César Durcin vi la,
David et Corinne en haut en bas, nuit sauvage, kochma sacré,
D'FI (Gessy Nataly & Jessye Belleval) An Nou Voyajé,
Dissonance amertume, antistar, zouk love,
Dominique Bernier mwen enméw, fanm,
Edith Lefel somnife, marie, fanm fo,
Eric Brouta telephone, metew en contact,
Eric Virgal Dé ti bo, Grasse matinée,
Francky Vincent tube Fruit de la passion, Alice ça glisse, Le tourment d'amour, Le tombeur,
Gilles Floro karamel, kalin,
Harry Diboula tu me manques, mise au point,
Jacques D'Arbaud fregate, voyagé, always,
Jean Michel Rotin jaloux, le ou lov, peyi bondyé,
Jocelyne Béroard Kolé séré,
Joëlle Ursull Myèl,
Kassav Zouk la sé sel médikaman nou ni,
King Kléro Zouk lésé nou zouké, la chance,
Kwak séré mwen,
Luc Léandry I salé i sikré, Dans tes yeux, Anba koko-la,
Mathieu Briganti le pas chaloupé feat.Doc Gyneco,
Mylène Duclos Découvè l'univers, Pa ni race,
Pascal Lanclume pran plezi,
Pascal Vallot belle inconnue,
Patrick Benoît mamie, sandra,
Patrick Saint-Éloi darlin, ki jan an ke fe, ballad kreyol,
Phil Control téléphoné,
Richard Birman Vérité cachée, la lecon, Kupidon, Absence, Nuit bleue,
Sadi lancreot Simao, jodi se swin, Mwen pa mele, Konsole mwen, Chouchou.,
Sonia Dersion fo tchimbé, natirel,
Tony Chasseur don d'organne,
Zouk Machine Maldón,
Jean Yves Cebon,
Richard Birman: Kupidon, La leçon, Vérité cachée, En secret, Minuit, Amélia etc.,
CLIP MIZIK TV,