Edited by Azizi Powell
This post showcases five videos of Gwo Ka music & dance from Guadeloupe, French West Indies. Information about Gwo Ka is also includes in this post.
The content of this post is provided for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all others featured in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube and thanks to those who are quoted in this post.
INFORMATION ABOUT GWO KA
"Gwo ka (Big drum) is both a family of hand drums and the music created with them, which is a major part of Guadeloupean folk music. There are seven rhythms in gwo ka, which are embellished by the drummers. 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. There are also dances that tell folk stories that are accompanied by the gwo ka drums.
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.
Gwo ka is the French creole term for Big drum.
The origin of Gwo Ka goes back to the period of enslavement in the 18th century. Musical research show that the instrument can find its roots in the drums and songs of the West African countries (Guinea gulf, Congo...). From the diverse music and dance of their homelands, the slaves elaborated a communication tool, a new form of art, like the creole language: the Gwo Ka. This musical genre is characterised by an African typology: - repetitive form - improvisation - physical movements linked to music - a response between a soloist and choir - a syncopation [which is] weak [at] times. Gwo-ka, is a quadruple entity: dance, music, instrument, song..."
These videos are posted in chronological order based on the date that they were published on YouTube. The videos with the oldest dates posted first.
Example #1: GUADELOUPE - Filles super rapides (live drums - gwo ka)
lagoyave Uploaded on Nov 1, 2008
Genre: folklore - traditional music: Gwo ka, Guadeloupe island
Festival les Belles ka dansé - Bourget (France)
Super fast dancers. They could dance really fast and could also play drums, the KA. 7 rhythms, it is unique worldwide. Let me tell you that the easiest one is not obvious at all.
Filles super rapides et synchronisées. Niveau de danse: expert.
Danse et percussions: jouent du tambour.
Example #2: Gwo ka - Jean Fouye Pye Fouye - Lewoz a Choukaj Mas Pari [live drums]
lagoyave Uploaded on Jul 22, 2011
...Traditional drums of Guadeloupe (FWI: French West Indies - French Oversea Dpt #971). Bay lavwa, buzzez, faites tourner svp, please tell a Friend!!! Yon bèl mèsi, thanks a million!!!
Title: Jean Fouyé, Pyè Fouyé, gwo ka classic. 3 dancers/danseurs
This song is loved by everyone and is also one of my favorite for both, the lyrics and the composition as a whole. Many covers available, I like this one, it was a fair one. :)
Guest: Orèl, Style Ka
Chant: Fred Epaminondas, Lowi6
Danseurs: Camille de Miyo, Pascal Lamy en rouge et je ne connais pas le dernier. Si vous savez, dites-le moi. Merci...
Example #3: Gwo ka - Orel Styleka - "Pa mannye loli-la" - Lewoz a Choukaj Mas Pari
Lagoyave, uploaded on Jul 31, 2011
Title/titre: "pa mannyé loli-la"
Genre: Gwo ka music - live drums. Choukaj Mas Pari. Annual event.
3 dancers/danseuses dont Manzel Dodoz. Bay lavwa, faites tourner, commentez, svp. Merci. -
Title/titre: Pa mannyé loli-la is a Gwo ka classic song.
Guest: Orèl, StyleKa,,,
Example #4: Gwo ka Lewoz Poirier Petit-Bourg
Chaîne de 971chimentrase Uploaded on Sep 11, 2011
Example #5: Veillée de Napoléon Magloire dit Napo - Gwoka Guadeloupe - 1
Kalinda Productions, Published on May 6, 2013
Wake of Napoleon "Napo" Magloire, master singer of the Guadeloupean tradition gwoka / May 3rd, 2013, Guadeloupe.
Veillée de Napoléon Magloire dit Napo, vendredi 3 mai 2013, Gosiers, Guadeloupe
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