Chinal Ka

17/12/19Heavenly Sweetness Releases First-Ever Anthology Of Gwo-Ka Great Erick Cosaque

It's winter time in the Western Hemisphere, which finds us reminiscing about that island life with a little help by ways of French imprint Heavenly Sweetness. A few weeks back, the label – home to Guts, Anthony Joseph, the Florian Pellissier Quintet and many more – released the first-ever anthology dedicated to the work of Gwo-Ka artist Erick Cosaque, as part of its Antilles Series. The release highlights Cosaque's most distinctive oeuvres from 1973-1995, an essential collection of tracks to be rediscovered by music lovers all around the world.

With a career spanning 45 years and twenty-something solo albums, Erick Cosaque is rightfully considered one of the major figures of Caribbean folk music genre Gwo-Ka (gwo ka being a French Creole term for big drum): "Strong, rough and plump [...] Erick Cosaque’s voice is made to go over and above the two boula drums and the makè drum which are associated in general, along a few light percussions, with the Guadeloupean gwo ka," the album description reads. 

Born into an era of slavery, Erick Cosaque's empowering voice is not just a thing of beauty, but also full of rebellious spirit, "deeply rooted in a complex historical and social context made of fights, pleasures, memories and desires." Compiled by Fred Martin (Les Mains Noires), "Chinal Ka 1973-1995" expertly lays out Cosaque's rich palette of sounds, including jazz, soul, spoken word, funk and zouk; all in a Gwo-Ka hue. These sounds are so diverse, we needed to check the playlist a few times, to make sure the album hadn't ended and the algorithm taken over.

You can stream the full 16-track anthology below. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom