The Many Forms of Creole Music





Zouk Dance

of the French Caribbean
In Antillean French Creole, Zouk means party!














a Antillean French Creole type of Music and Dance


In Antillean French Creole, Zouk means party! Zouk is both a dance and a type of music. The sensual and energetic dance has roots in Brazilian Lambada and Samba, while the music has French Caribbean roots. has French Caribbean roots.


Characteristic Movements of Zouk Dance

Zouk has a characteristic wave-like movement, elongated steps and striking hair movements by the lady. The movements are a rhythmic side to side and a rippling forward and back wave-like motion. Body rolls are reminiscent of the Samba, while hip grinds are reminiscent of the Lambada.

Accomplished female dancers roll their head in a circular motion and from side to side keeping to the rhythm of the music, and thereby creating a fluid and sensual quality to their dance. Sometimes they punctuate the end of a sequence or step pattern with an back arch and throwing back of the head. This is the essence of the original Lambada and is visually stunning to watch! (Neck or other injuries are quiet possible and anyone executing these moves should exercise caution and good judgment.)

The embrace when dancing Zouk-Lambada is very close. The follower dances on the balls of her feet (heels off the ground — as if tip-toeing on hot sand) with a twisting motion so that her steps appear to grind the floor (as if stubbing out a cigarette). This in turn which emphasizes her hip movements.



ouk style of rhythmic music originated from Haiti. It later spread to the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. It has its roots in the cadence music of Dominica popularised by Grammacks and Exile One.

After Lambada music stopped being composed, Brazilian Lambada dancers started using the Zouk music and the dance became Zouk Lambada.


Zouk is danced to a slow-quick-quick rhythm, on the first third & fourth beat of the bar.

The tempo of the dance is still much slower than the original Lambada of the eighties.



Different Zouk Dance Styles

Zouk-Lambada. Lambazouk

In Brazil, Lambada evolved into Zouk-Lambada. The original Lambada beat became slower and smoother. Lambazouk is a variation created in in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Zouk-Lambada sis danced to a one-two-three beat. The rhythm is a fusion of Carimbó and Merengue and the dance incorporates elements of Forró, Samba, Merengue and Maxixe.

The word 'Lambada' has Portuguese roots and refers to the wave-like motion of a whip. This flowing wave motion is reproduced by the dancers' bodies and is a characteristic of Lambada.

Zouk-Lambada maintains the characteristic close embrace, hip-grinding movements of the Lambada. The basic sideways step is lead by the hips. It also maintains the head-roll seen in the Samba and Lambada as well as upper-body rolls.

A very dramatic move that needs to be executed with care, is for the woman to lean far back lowering her head below her waist and then whipping her head from side to side. This results in her hair swishing and flying from side to side.


Zouklove is danced to slower music and it is a more dramatic and sensual style of Zouk. Zouklove has its origins in a slow tempo form of cadence sung by Ophelia Marie of the Dominica. Zouklove in turn influenced an African genre of Zouk called Kizomba which developed in Angola and Cape Verde.

Other popular Zouklove artists are Suzanna Lubrano and Gil Semedo (fron the Netherlands), French West Indian artists Edith Lefel, Nichols and Harry Diboula, Haitian artists Ayenn and Daan Junior, Jocelyne Labylle from Guadeloupe, and African artist Philipe Monteiro.

Soul Zouk

Gaining popularity in Brazil is Soul Zouk, a style of Zouk that can be danced to a variety of music including, R&B and Hip-Hop.












what Wikipedia has to say


is a style of rhythmic music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe & Martinique.


The word Zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local Antillean Creole of French, although the word originally referred to, and is still used to refer to, a popular dance, based on the Polish dance, the mazurka, that was introduced to the French Caribbean in the 19th Century. Actually the Creole word "soukwe", "souke", "zouke" from the French verb "secouer" meaning shake repeatedly was popularized by Haitian artists who for years have toured these Islands with their kompa

In Africa, it is popular in franco- and lusophone countries. In Europe it is particularly popular in France, and in North America the Canadian province of Quebec. The zouk as featured today is the French Antilles compas.[Zouk often uses a compas influenced beat, tambour and tibwa as the basis for its music.


Zouk’s origins can be traced back to the West Indies, having come out of the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the early to mid-1980’s. In Jocelyn Guilbault’s seminal book on the subject, “Zouk: World Music in the West Indies,” she states that “Zouk is the creation of black, Creole-speaking Antillean artists,” and puts forth the theory that it is the product of the struggle to form some kind of national identity among the four islands, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica and St. Lucia. All four share a similar colonial past, having been under both French and English rule at various points in their history, and are populated predominantly by blacks, who are the descendants of African slaves. The word “zouk” comes from the Creole word meaning “party,” and is such a part of everyday life that a common phrase heard on the islands is “When you hear zouk, you feel at home.”

Music authors Charles De Ledesma and Gene Scaramuzzo trace zouk's development to the Guadeloupean gwo ka and Martinican bèlè (tambour and ti bwa) folk traditions. Ethnomusicologist Jocelyn Guilbault, however, describes zouk as a synthesis of Caribbean popular styles, especially Dominica cadence-lypso, Guadeloupean biguine, and Haitian cadence.[ Zouk arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s, using elements of previous styles of Antillean music, as well as imported genres.






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