The enemies of Zouk can no longer hide or pretend. In our editorial, entitled “Why does the “Tribute to Jacob Desvarieux” tour/Kassav’ not start in Guadeloupe?“ and dated March 17, we discussed this smear campaign that Zouk suffered from some twenty years ago and that is still topical today, even though this young music has proven itself (so to speak!) all over the world. Indeed, thanks to the band Kassav’, its inventor in 1979, Zouk has not stopped traveling, its members being from Guadeloupe and Martinique, French territories, Kassav’ was ranked the number 1 French band regarding tours abroad.
We are relieved that, since our article, voices have been raised to defend this music and denounce the “enemies of Zouk”. The “sentinels” of Zouk finally stand up…
Recently, some words (dating from 2017) of a singer from the Paris suburbs have been exhumed. He claimed to “hate Zouk” and thought he would never sing it. However, from his musical production emanates a strong smell of Zouk. As the saying goes : “You hate the American but you love his cookie”… Today, he wants to explain to us in his own way the meaning of the word “hate”, he really thinks we are fools in the tropics… And, shamelessly, he even comes to our Caribbean islands, where Zouk was born, to sell us his “sauce”. “Spit on the Cross, you always come back to the foot of the Cross”, as the saying goes. Tickets for his concerts that are taking place these days are sold to young people who have made him a “star”. Is it all their fault? These young people are attracted by novelty, they have no local musical culture first because of their parents and they are also fed with sounds coming from elsewhere by so-called “youth radios”. Moreover, with the advent of the Internet, there are no longer any borders.
These artists should thank Zouk and recognize that they are inspired by this music and not claim that they make RnB or Dancehall. It is needless to say, they won’t go and show Americans how to make RnB or Jamaicans how to make Dancehall. It is not certain that the doors of these markets will open for them. They will be “Kings and Queens of RnB or Dancehall” but at home…
Unlike those artists who “hate” Zouk but willingly copy it, Miles Davis (1926-1991) admitted to being seduced by Kassav’ and its Zouk, the Caribbean band also influenced the music of the last studio album Amandla of the great American jazz trumpeter, released in 1989. When music legends meet, they respect each other.
A few days ago, the “local” national radio station devoted a day to Kassav’, a nice initiative that especially allowed the generations who grew up with this band to re-listen to its old hits, dance and sing.
But what impact did this Kassav’ special have on our youth? None, because they are tuned to “youth” frequencies and unfortunately, for many of them, the members of Kassav’ are the “grandfathers and grandmothers of Zouk”, a music listened to by their parents or grandparents.
What can we do to ensure respect for Zouk music? Should we create a “Regional, National or International Zouk Day”?
Some musics already have their official “day”. This is the case of Jazz born in the United States ; its international day is April 30 since November 2011 by Unesco with concerts all over the world. In 2005, a presidential decree declared November 26 as the “National Merengue Day” in the Dominican Republic. The International Reggae Day has existed since July 1, 1994. On January 9, 2008, the Government of Jamaica declared February as Reggae Month to highlight the impact of this musical genre on the social, cultural and economic development of the country.