The London-based label Beauty & the Beat reissues a cult Guadeloupean gwoka track by Gaoulé Mizik. PAM shares an exclusive remix by Kay Suzuki.
Time Capsule curators Cedric Woo and Kay Suzuki recently spoke with sharp pan-African selections on our PAM Club series and PAM Sound System radio show. A few weeks after the release of the compilation Léspri Ka, the two teamed up again to reissue three tracks led by legendary singer Michel Laurent, for the label Beauty & the Beat. “A Ka Titine” has become a classic of the parties of the same name that have been rocking London for the past fifteen years. It is a pure Guadeloupean gwoka track, sung in Creole, which relates Michel’s island life on a toumblak rhythm, one of the seven distinct rhythms of the genre.
Played with drums of different sizes called “ka”, the gwoka sound inherited from slavery represents not only a singular style but also the identity of an island. If the gwoka sound adapts to the occasion – be it a baptism, carnival or funeral rites – the song in question here breathes love and joy in a rather traditional spirit, even if Gaoulé Mizik was known to experiment. By releasing two cult albums in the 80’s, the group was part of a modern gwoka movement open to fusion, in the same spirit of Erick Cosaque or Edmony Krater. To echo this, the Japanese-born Kay Suzuki brings an afro-cosmic dub touch on a hybrid remix made for clubs, maintaining respect for the original. Note that the EP also includes the tracks “Kan Sizè Sonné” (slightly edited by Cedric Woo), and “A Kolad”, two tracks released at the same time under the name of Michel Laurent.