After the ONTD Original posts we've had the last couple of weeks, I thought I would make another Caribbean music post like the one by topherfy on Bachata and Merengue. This ONTD Original is on Zouk and Kizomba music, which is popular in different Caribbean countries as well as among the Caribbean diaspora in the West.
Zouk is originally from the French Caribbean countries Guadaloupe and Martinique, but is also popular outside of the French West Indies, such as in Suriname, French Guyana, Haiti, Brazil and in countries in West Africa. Zouk is often described as "a fast, rhythmic, carnival style of music", but I'd personally say it's typically Caribbean music that you have to listen to, to get the vibe of the music. Zouk has different styles as it's made by artists in different parts of the world. Zouk Love music is a style of zouk that is popular too, which has slower, smoother rhythms and beats. Zouk is often sung in French creole.
Kizomba originates from Angola and is supposed to be derived from traditional Semba music. Today Kizomba is made by both Angolan artists as well as Cape Verdean singers. It is also influenced by other Caribbean styles such as Zouk, and every Lusophone country now has its own Kizomba music flavour. Kizomba can be just as rhythmic as Zouk, but generally it tends to be super smooth, romantic and sexy. Kizomba that is inspired by Zouk is often called Cabo music, Cabo Zouk or Cabo Love. Kizomba is sung in Portuegese Creole and Zouk-inspired Kizomba by Cape Verdean singers in Cape Verdean Creole.
"Zouk La Sé Sel Médikaman Nou Ni" by Kassav'
This song is an absolute classic and if you'll only listen to one song in this list, listen to this one! Kassav' is a Caribbean band formed in 1979 in Guadaloupe. They are still very popular and are currently touring through Europe! One of the members recently said there will be a new album in 2016. I'm not sure how factually correct this is, but these guys basically invented zouk music. Their song "Zouk La Sé Sel Médikaman Nou Ni" means something like "Zouk is the only medicine we need" and is a song that is played at least three times at every caribbean wedding I have ever been to.
"Maldòn (la musique dans la peau)" by Zouk Machine
Another classic by (an all female!) group from Guadeloupe. Zouk Machine was popular in the late 80s/early 90s and "Maldòn" was one of their most popular songs ever, reaching number one in France! According to the translation, this song is about a woman doing everything for a man at home (feeding, loving him) and wanting to go out and enjoy life. In the chorus she's asking him to give her some space so that she can enjoy music and go out. If you like "Maldòn", you HAVE to listen to "Pisimé Zouké" as well!
"Elle demandent (du zouk)" by Medhy Custos
"Elle demandent (du zouk)" brings us to zouk as it is popular now - a bit more influenced by (French) R&B imo. Medhy Custos is a French singer, originally from Guadeloupe that has been involved with music since he was 6 years old. He's popular in the French and Afro Caribbean community and "Elle demandent (du zouk)" was one of the most popular zouk songs in 2006.
"Cette Nuit" by Joyce ft. Ridge
"Cette Nuit" is a typical Zouk Love song, sung by one female singer and male singer with a smooth beat. This song was popular in the early 2000s, and part of the Allianstars Vol 1 album. According to the translation, it is a sad love song and a plea of the man for the woman to stay with him.
"Amour Sans Loi" by Marvin
Another Zouk Love song popular around 2006 is "Amour Sans Loi" by Marvin and part of the Allianstars Vol 1 album. Marvin is of African origin but was born and raised in France and this song is a mix of zouk and R&B though it has an obvious Zouk feel to it. If you like this song, Sweet Way is pretty similar, check out their song "Avec Le Temps".
"Près de Toi" by Lylah
"Près de Toi" is a 2015 zouk song by French R&B and Zouk singer Lylah. Zouk isn't as popular nowadays compared to the 80s/90s and early 00s, but I'm glad to see French artists still reprsenting. Lylah used to be part of the female R&B and zouk group Les Déesses which also made amazing songs, like Saveurs Exotiques. If you're into the R&B/zouk hybrid, definitely check them out :)
"Um Dois" by Anselmo Ralph
Anselmo Ralph is one of the most popular Kizomba singers and originally from Angola. He blew up around 2003-2006 and even won a MTV award for Best African Artist. He's also seen as one of the artists that popularized Kizomba music outside of the Lusophone community.
Zouk music and Kizomba music are often confused, as seen by this video saying it's "zouk music" :')
"Tuda Po Ba" by Suzanna Lubrano
Suzanna Lubrano is a Cape Verdean & Dutch singer that is incredibly popular in Lusophone countries. She's has been making music professionaly since she was eightteen and has won numerous awards in African countries. Nowadays she's focusing on English language music, but I'm sure she'll go back to Kizomba eventually because she's one of the best. If you like Tuda Po Ba even remotely, listen to Oh Li Oh La as well which was a bigger hit (or check it out on Spotify for better quality).
"Poderosa" by Djodje
I don't know much about Djodje, except that he is from Cape Verde as well, but Poderosa is one of the most popular Kizomba songs at the moment. You can really hear the differences and similarities between zouk and kizomba by listening to this song IMO as it has a distinctive mixed rhythm.
"Bolbe (Come Back) (Tropical Version)" by Patrick Graham
You can immediately hear that Bolbe isn't Kizomba from Angola or Cape Verde, as it has a different vibe, but it definitely belongs in the Kizomba Love category. Patrick Grayham was born in Suriname but grew up in the Dutch Antilles (Curacao and Sint Marteen) and you can hear that he is influenced by typically Dutch West Indian music. Patrick also does Kizomba in English, check out Sara and Fire for more stuff by him.
"Ela E" by Nelson Freitas feat. Big Nelo
Big Nelo is a singer/rapper, originally from Angola. He used to be part of the Hiphop group SSP, based in Angola. Nelson Freitas is one of the biggest Kizomba singers at the moment and often sings in English as well as in Cape Verdian Creole. He calls his music 'ghettozouk' and if you're interested in smooth, English language Kizomba, definitely check out Deeper.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13