An Island Story

09/07/2018Strut Records Gains Access To The Archives Of French Caribbean Label Disques Debs

UK-based Strut Records have gained access to the archives of one of the most prolific French Caribbean labels out of Guadeloupe, aka Henri Debs' Disques Debs. Founded in the late '50s, the imprint went on to release over 300 7" singles and 200 LPs, ranging from "early biguine and bolero to zouk and reggae", while "Debs played a pivotal role in bringing the créole music of Guadeloupe and Martinique to a wider international audience".

Volume 1 of the three-part series shines a light on the first decade of the label's existence from 1960 to 1972 and features "big band orchestras, home-grown stars, touring bands as well as a new generation that would emerge at the end of the ‘60s". Among these artists are Henri Debs' own sextet, saxophonist Edouard Benout of Les Maxel's, the Orchestre Esperanza, the Orchestre Caribbean Jazz, poet and radio personality Casimir "Caso" Létang or folkloric gwo ka artist Sydney Leremon as well as international touring artists, including Haitian trumpeter Raymond Cicault and Trinidadian bandleader Cyril Diaz.

Compiled by Sofrito's Hugo Mendez and Radio Nova's Emile Omar, "Disques Debs International" is the first-ever official release from the Disques Debs archive and makes for a thrilling, sun-drenched listen. Released at the end of June, along with many unseen archive photos, full sleeve liner notes and artist interviews, volumes 2 and 3 will follow in 2019. Head over to Bandcamp to stream the 21-track selection in full or listen to Guy Conquette's "Assez Fait Cancan" in the SoundCloud player above. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom