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Zouk is a musical movement pioneered by the French Antillean band Kassav' in the early 1980s. It has become undistinguishable from Compas.[1] Originally characterized by a fast tempo (120–145 bpm), a percussion-driven rhythm and a loud horn section.[2] The fast zouk beton of Martinique and Guadeloupe, faded away in the same 80s. During the second half of the 1980s, a slow Compas style, dubbed zouk-love, has been promoted [3][4] The original faster style became known as "zouk béton", "zouk chiré" or "zouk hard".[5]

Zouk is considered a synthesis of various French Antillean dance music styles of the 20th century: kadans, konpa and biguine.[6] Unlike the fast carnival zouk beton, zouk love is actually the French Lesser Antilles Compas.[7]


The 1990s was the confirmation of the success of zouk, the French Antilles Compas in the Caribbean. The progressive disappearance of brass instruments and the slow-down of the tempo made zouk-love the most popular zouk subgenre in the 1990s, which influenced the Cape-Verdean new generation.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Popular Musics of the Non Western World. Peter Manuel, New York Oxford University Press, 1988, p74
  2. ^ Torres, George (2013). Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music. ABC-CLIO. p. 453. ISBN 978-0-313-08794-3.
  3. ^ Occo, Jean-Claude (2019). The Codification of Zouk. p. 10. ISBN 978-2-9567965-2-7.
  4. ^ Ellingham, Mark (1999). The Rough Guide to World Music. p. 299. ISBN 978-1-85828-636-5.
  5. ^ Guilbault, Jocelyne; Averill, Gage; Benoit, Edouard; Rabess, Gregory (1993). Zouk: World Music in the West Indies. University of Chicago Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-226-31042-8.
  6. ^ Manuel, Peter; Bilby, Kenneth; Largey, Michael (2012). Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae. Temple University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-59213-464-9.
  7. ^ Popular Musics of the Non Western World. Peter Manuel, New York Oxford University Press, 1988, p74
  8. ^ Gérald Désert, Le Zouk. Genèse et représentations sociales d'une musique populaire, préface de Apollinaire Anakesa Kululuka, Paris, Anibwe, coll. Liziba, 2018 ISBN 9781234567897


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