LABELS: Fremeaux & Associes
WORKS: Biguine, valse et mazurka créoles 1930-1944, Vol. 3
PERFORMER: Various artists
CATALOGUE NO: FA 5110
In the 1930s and ’40s, cabarets featuring musicians from the ‘French Antilles’ were the height of fashion in Paris, the centre of one of the first ‘world music’ crazes – the beguine. That contemporary artists such as Kali still draw on the genre for inspiration is a testament to its enduring appeal, and the third double CD in this series shows why this rollicking, Africanised dance music was so popular.
The three-minute heroes – and heroines – of their day are backed by small ensembles, typically featuring banjo, clarinet and piano, and it’s the players rather than the singers who really shine. Waltz, mazurka, rumba and other styles add variety. Just don’t expect high fidelity! Jon Lusk