Creolized AuralityGuadeloupean Gwoka and Postcolonial Politics

Creolized AuralityGuadeloupean Gwoka and Postcolonial Politics

Jérôme Camal

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226631639

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Can music help us make sense of a form of (post)colonialism that is defined not by anticolonial rupture, but by an ongoing negotiation of the relationship between (former) colonies and their metropole? Along with Martinique, Guiana, and Rion, the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe chose to decolonize by fully integrating into the French state. In the late 1960s, as political integration failed to deliver on its social and economic promises, gwoka–a form of secular drum-based music and dance–became associated with a renewed and more radical form of anticolonial, separatist, activism. Today, while the music is still hailed as a tool and a symbol of resistance, its sounds mix with other musical genres to provide a platform for a cohort of younger musicians to express pan-Caribbean and diasporic solidarities. From colonialism to anticolonialism, from nationalism to postnationalism, the book explores how gwoka participates in five auralities, fields of sonic relations that make audible multiple–and often seemingly contradictory–cultural belongings and political longings. Drawing from Edouard Glissant's poetics of Relation and re-interpreting creolization as a double play of resistance and accommodation, Creolized Aurality moves away from narratives of anticolonial rupture and overcoming to elucidate (post)coloniality as an unstable relational matrix from which emerges a politics caught in the tension between a struggle for sovereignty and demands for full citizenship.