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Les Maîtres Du Bèlè

The origin of bèlè (also known as ‘bel-air’) dates back to the period of slavery in Martinique. The rhythms came from Africa with the Arada, Congolese, Senegalese and Bambara slaves. Bèlè features a solo singer and répondé (chorus), at least one tanbouyé playing the tanbou bèlè (bèlè drum), one bwate playing the tibwa (meaning “petit bois”— ‘small wood’, this percussion is made of two sticks struck on a piece of bamboo or the back of a drum). Les Maîtres du Bèlè are the holders of this tradition. These masters (who average 75 years of age) live on the North Coast of Martinique, especially in Sainte Marie, where a “Maison du Bèlè” (Bele House) was created in 2003.This CD aims to be a testimony for future generations.