« There is no better place to start than here » par Dirty Linen

Unappreciated at home, many Guadeloupe and Martinique Creole musicians move to Paris, where they achieved great popularity in the West Indians cabarets during the 30s and 40s. Apparently it must have been quite a scene, as this is Frémeaux & Associés’ third double-disc release of biguine. It includes a few waltzes, mazurkas, rumbas, and chansons. Biguine dates back to the 19th century, when Créolesfused traditional bèlè music with the polka. Instrumentally, it’s best characterized by a dominating clarinet melody that’s supported by banjos, guitars, pianos, and Latin hythms. The stringed players are often quite nimble fingered, the clarinetist emotionally expressive, the tempos snappy, and there is a high degree of skilled musicianship throughout. While most songs are clarinet-centric, a few selections represent the « biguine de salon » tradition whitha vocalist accompagnied by a pianist and/or guitarist, just as one would hear in a parlor room setting on a Sunday afternoon. But the majority of tunes are dance oriented, falling under the « biguine de bal » and « biguine de rue » social dance idioms. Many important figures are represented here, including clarinetists Eugene Delouche and Félix Valver, and trumpeter Abel Beauregard. The French-English bilingual liner notes are authoritatively written and quite informative. To begin the biguine, there is no better place to start than here.