Carnival is an old tradition that goes back to the time of colonisation.
The European colonists brought their Shrove Tuesday customs; the natives quickly adopted but on which they added their own personal touch.
After slavery was abolished, the custom kept on and has since remained a highlight in the life of the islanders.
In the caribbean, on the island of Guadeloupe, Carnival starts on Epiphany and ends an Ash Wednesday. During all that period, in most towns, people of all ages and professions join carnival groups and some of them quite famous.
Therefore, hardly are the festivities of Christmas and New Year over, from Basse-Terre to Pointe à Pitre carnival parades go by through the town both to train for D-Day.
The Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the streets are taken over by the crowd in costumes, either on foot or perched on picturesque and original floats. Then the whole town turns into a multi-coloured and shimmering dance to the sound of “GWO-KA” and the rhythm of drums.
Ash Wednesday is the last day of madness ; the carnival devils, dressed in black and white only, invade the streets again at nightfall when “VAVAL” the king of carnival is cremated accompanied by the shouting and wailing of the numerous crowd.
Caribbean music draws from its African roots, his soul, his heart “Gwo-ka” drum slaves to re-impose the rhythm of zouk. The KASSAV group will sublimate. It uses the rhythms. It frees the Caribbean music and blew in the 80s.
Zouk is now regarded as the West Indies an exportable product, one of the few.