Chouval bwa

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Chouval bwa is a Martinican traditional music.


Belair or bèlè drumming is at the rhythmic heart of chouval bwa, the traditional roots music of Martinique; the belair itself is a huge tambour drum that players ride as though it were a horse. The belair percussionist is typically the leader of the chouval bwa orchestra. Chouval bwa features a drummer on the tanbour drum and the ti bwa, a percussion instrument made out of a piece of bamboo laid horizontally and beaten with sticks; the most traditional ensembles also use accordions, chacha (a rattle) and the bel-air, a bass version of the tanbour, bamboo flute and wax-paper/comb-type kazoo.

The music originated among rural Martinicans. Since its development, chouval bwa has diversified into genres like zouk chouv, which includes electric instrumentation and has been popularized by Claude Germany, Tumpak, Dede Saint-Prix, and Pakatak.

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