Zil’OKa GROUP: Traditional dance from French West Indies


Through Zil’OKa and the “Kilti Ka “workshops, a variety of rhythms from the French West Indies are explored. The rhythms feature a strong African influence and can be associated to joy, rebellion, charm, resistance, carnival, sorrow, meditation, spirituality, seduction.

Gwo’ka (from Guadeloupe) & Bèlè from (Martinique) both feature melodically repetitive vocal lines over rolling drum sections that alter between fixed and improvised. They rely on several recurrent elements, which include the rhythmic of the drums, clapping of hands, the melody of the carol (répondè) and the improvisation playing with the norm.

Improvisation plays an important role in both gwoka and bèlè. Whilst still respecting the tempo and the harmony, singers, dancers and drummers (tambouyè) have total liberty to demonstrate their improvisation art.
The accompanying dances includes feigned forward-backward, in-out motions and are generally danced by a man or/and woman, and maybe said to resemble Brazilian capoeira, Afrocuban.

Like gwoka and bele, Kasékò from French Guyana is also a rhythm and a dance and is played with 3 drums and a Ti-bwa..

In the early-20th century, came the Biguine, a form similar to early New Orleans jazz which features notably more European influence.


4 Responses to “Zil’OKa GROUP: Traditional dance from French West Indies”

  1. kwawusweb Says:

    Hotep my people!
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    Talk to you soon folks!


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