Repress from this lovely Fusion/Zouk album from 1990!

"Official remastered reissue of rare Bèlènou's LP originally released in 1990."Emosyon Tambou-A" is the meeting of Bèlè (Bel-Air) traditional percussions from Martinique with Modern Jazz. Bèlènou founded in the late 70's by Edmond Mondésir and Léon Bertide was inspired by the work of Guadeloupean jazz artist Gérald Lockel." (Beaumonde)

'A decade-old Martiniquan band that uses bele (belair) rhythms as a foundation for experimentation that ranges in sound from jazz to afro-beat. Uneven, but when it works it's very unusual and exciting.' -Allmusic

'A record from the start of the 90s, but one with a spirit that's much more like some of the best 70s hybrids of jazz and global rhythms – served up here by a group that features plenty of the three musical elements pictured on the cover, plus some vocals from the ensemble as well. Electric bass and guitar are the two non-acoustic instruments in the mix – and there's plenty of rootsy percussion that really moves quickly with the grooves, as the bass often inflects along with the energy of the rhythms – laying out a tuneful path that's then followed by the vocals. And there's more guitar solos than tenor moments, but they definitely get the right sort of space to stretch out.' –Dusty Groove

BeauMonde Records
'In the early eighties, Edmond Mondésir, professor of philosophy and Léon Bertide, trade unionist, founded the Bèlènou group. They were actors of the great agricultural strike of 1974, which resulted in the death of two workers (Ilmany and Marie-Louise) and left many wounded. Activists of the patriotic movement Asé Pléré An Nou Lité (Stop crying, Fight), they were part of the identity and the cultural affirmation [la revendication identitaire et culturelle] of the time. Like the Guadeloupean musician Gérard Lockel and his work on the Gwo Ka, they put the Bèlè, in its traditional form, back in the spotlight during Swaré Bèlè (Bèlè nights).

Minimalist and spiritual, a true rural ancestral art from Martinique, the Bèlè combines dance and music from responsorial monodies, which is a choir that responds to the lead singer (Respondè / La vwa dèyè), on codified drum rhythms and ti-bwa (2 sticks that hit the back of the drum or a piece of bamboo). It comes in a series of collective choreographies, working up into the trance. The texts are simple, short and tell the story of everyday life and struggle. While preserving the emotion and the drum’s central place, the fundamental contribution of Bèlènou is to keep the traditional form of Bèlè while adding a modern instrumentation: bass, guitar, saxophone, drums...
Emosyon Tambou-a (Emotion of the Drum) was released in 1990. This third opus of the band expands the musical spectrum in harmonies, arrangements and influences to create a contemporary music anchored in the Bèlè matrix, while keeping the beat, the energy and ancestral roots of music. Bèlènou adapts some classic rhythms: Bélya, Gran Bèlè, Bèlè Pitjé or Ting-Bang rewritten here for an orchestra.

With the appearance of long couplets and a complex harmonization of the choruses, Bèlènou's music brings a form of modernity, it opens notably to jazz territory as well as to other forms of music and grooves. Also, Bèlènou leaves the musicians with space for improvisation: not only on the saxophone or the guitar, but also with the drums (cleverly adaptating traditional rhythms to the drums).
The texts sung in Creole are of a social nature, appealing to the solidarity and self-denial of the people (Bélya pou péyi-a, Tout pèp-la sanblé), to the struggle for political emancipation towards a new democracy (Wi ny ké rivé, Ni dé jou, Démokrasi); land protection (Sové tè-a); finally, to the vitality of the Bèlè culture ... (Emosyon Tambou-a, Dansé Ting-Bang)...

Culture participates, according to the expression of Aimé Césaire, as "Miraculous Weapons". Bèlènou sings a project of a new and united society.

Today still, Edmond Mondésir continues his artistic research by perpetuating and modernizing the tradition. The electro-acoustic version Emosyon bèlè (released with his son Manuel) in 2011 as well as the project Moman Mzik Bèlè released in 2016 are perfect examples of this.
A precursor group, experimental in the its early years, Bèlènou reconciles with talent tradition, modernity and cultural identity.'

Frédéric THALY

1. Emosyon Tanbou-A 4:57
2. Bélya Pou Péyi-A 4:07
3. Tout Pèp La Sanblé 3:34
4. Sové Tè-A 3:08
5. Wi Nou Ké Rivé 3:47
6. Ni Dé Jou 5:08
7. Démokrasi 3:36
8. Dansé Ting-Bang 3:03