Les Vikings De La Guadeloupe

29/04/2020Heavenly Sweetness Reissues 14-Track Tribute To The Pioneers Of Biguine Jazz

The Vikings from Guadeloupe...we'll let that resonate for a minute, before we proceed. These 1960s legends from the French Antilles are the pioneers of Biguine jazz as well as the archipelago's first true rockstars. In many ways "they embodied the same spirit of liberty and anti-conformism" as other leading international bands and artists of the times and "with their unorthodox dress sense reinvented the music of the tropics and shook up its conventions."

Their sound, though not rock per se, soundtracked a period of radical societal change and sparked a career that has meanwhile spanned five decades. Fusing funk, Creole jazz, reggae, Cadence-lypso, Konpa, Merengue, Guadeloupean Gwoka and Biguine, their modern Creole soundscapes were a predecessor to the Zouk of the 1980s. As such Les Vikings are rightfully considered the most important French Antillean band of the 60s and 70s.

A few years back, as part of its "Antilles Series", Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness reissued the 14-track selection "Enko On Ti Tou" of the group's best songs from 1966-2016,  which you can stream below. And, if we've kindled your interest, you might also try to find the worthwhile documentary "Kadans Kreyol" (teaser below) by David Commeillas, which retraces the history of Antillean music and just so happens to also feature Les Vikings de la Guadeloupe.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom