Classic Kanaky Grooves be Catchy

The Hen, northern Nü Caledonia.  Free range heaven on a tiny beach.

The Hen, northern Nü Caledonia. Free range heaven on a tiny beach.

On the north tip of the sleeping continent Zealandia, there is a land of super crows and bubblegum reggae that rises out of the deep Pacific.  New Caledonia (increasingly known as Kanaky by locals) is still a “special collectivity” of France.  But 40% of the overall population are native Melanesians, and there is an ongoing push for independence from their far-off administrators.

But regardless of who they call président, the Kanak are a strong and proud people, keeping their culture alive and infusing traditional vocal and percussion music with reggae and reggae-related vibes.  Yes, this is as far from the Caribbean as it is from France, but in the South Pacific, reggae rules supreme.

Hear skanking of many forms, ancient chants, janglin’ oldies, french hip hop and more on the Kanaky special…  {STREAM HERE}

(As a side note, there is very little information available about these artists.. the song titles are often missing.  Hey, if I lived on a tropical island I wouldn’t spend much time on the computer either.. but O the wealth of music from a mere quarter million people!)

good wooden vibrations

((we got the good wood vibrations))

Also, the first hour’s Global Mix {HERE}

French Ama-soniques

This week we visit the nation that never was but probably should be: Guyane, sur le bord du jungle amazone.

Devil's Island: the Alcatraz of South America

Devil’s Island: the Alcatraz of South America

French Guiana – the only piece of South America still held in custody by their colonial mother-in-law.  The other Guys have all been set free… qu’est ce qu’il y a la France?  Still bitter about losing Haiti?  Oh right, you needed somewhere to build a spaceport.  Politics aside, French Guiana is well worthy of a sonic exploration; and so we find ourselves back in the almighty Amazon, the sacred lungs of our momma Earth.

Though native South Americans still survive in pockets of the rainforest, the quarter-million humans in French Guiana are primarily of African or mixed ancestry, living either in isolated communities where drumming traditions are preserved, or in smallish coastal cities like Cayenne and Kourou, where the traditions mix with modern sounds to form a frenetic hybrid style called aléké.

Still, much of the music has a distinct Caribbean vibe.  Roots reggae is a powerful force in the region, and the best-known local musicians play some variation of it.  The biggest international star, Prince Koloni, plays both aléké and reggae.. perhaps they will one day fuse into a distinctly amazonian sound smash.

Hear drums of focused fury, laid back skankin’, and some unexpected twists on the French Guianese special.