Listening: Les Loups Noirs

by Nicholas Laughlin on August 26, 2010

It is a stuffy Thursday afternoon, thunder is rolling off in the distance, and your Antilles blogger is hunched at his desk, trying to clear through miscellaneous CRB paperwork, as we prepare to wrap up the current issue of the magazine and begin publication of the next. Les Loups Noirs are keeping me company. The Haitian “mini-djaz” ensemble, specialising in a blend of traditional compas with jazz and rock-and-roll influences, were wildly popular across the French Caribbean in the 1970s. “Jet Biguine” gives you an idea why. The track was included in Tumbélé: Biguine, Afro & Latin sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963–74, recently released by Soundway Records (here’s a review by Joe Tangari).

And here’s another Loups Noirs track, “Cap Haïtien”, which starts wistfully then becomes a cool little dance number:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Robert Lee August 31, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Took me back to the film Biguine, of whom Patrick Chamoiseau was one of the script writers. The film proposes that Biguine, the popular Martinican music that was an international dance hit, began in St. Pierre. The eruption of Mount Pele in 1902, put an end to the creative efforts of the musicians who created Biguine there. That didn’t stop it from taking off beyond the shores of Martinique. The clarinet, the lead instrument of Biguine (as I’ve heard it and understood it, subject to correction by musicians) provides a haunting creole lament, that leads, like so much creole music, to those gentle, flirtatious, courteous dances of women in madras dresses and bow-tied men. Nice old piece, that touches those of us who have known the best spirit of the French Creole culture of our islands (and that beyond race or skin tint.)

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