The transmission of voicing in traditional Gwoka: Between identity and memory

Abstract : This article examines the transmission of voicing – the use of voice during the execution of a song – in Gwoka music. Considered at the time of French colonization as mizik a vié nèg (vagrants music), this traditional music from Guadeloupe recently underwent a rehabilitation process that led to the idea that it reflected the " roots " and the " authenticity " of the Guadeloupe people. Gwoka music has since then become an important part of Guadeloupe cultural heritage, to the point that it is now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The present work explores the relation between voicing in Gwoka and the questions of identity and memory. It defends the idea that traditional singers are chroniclers of their time. They are memory smugglers who educate the audience by evoking values through their lyrics and voice. Gwoka music is strongly attached to political movements of resistance since its emergence. Previous generations of singers have not only transmitted vocal practice and lyrics, but also Creole language. Finally, the ability of voicing to preserve the Guadeloupean identity and to resist Western domination is discussed in the last section.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 11:46:17 AM
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Marie Tahon, Pierre-Eugène Sitchet. The transmission of voicing in traditional Gwoka: Between identity and memory. Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, 2017, 2 (2), pp.157-175. ⟨10.1386/jivs.2.2.157_1⟩. ⟨hal-01593445⟩



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