228

Andr: Bahamian Ballads: The Songs of Andr

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Andr: Bahamian Ballads: The Songs of Andr

Citrus and Rum...

Haitian native André Toussaint abandoned Papa Doc for the sunny shores of Nassau, The Bahamas and forged a successful career in the 1950s and '60s as a lounge singer of native calypso music, much of which he composed. on this collection. Toussaint's music was considered particularly refined, differing dramatically from the Goombay and Junkanoo music of the Bahamas. Fluent in French, Haitian, Italian, and Spanish, Toussaint often juxtaposed Bahamian folk songs with more popular world music. Toussaint was an excellent guitarist, a fact that betrays his greater talent than that expected from a "lounge" singer. Toussaint continued to perform in Nassau until his death in 1981.

My initial listen to this disc, particularly the guitar pieces such as "Island Woman" made me think of how much of this music I heard in American folk music like Country Music and the Blues. I then began to muse on exactly who influenced who, briefly falling prey to that potent arrogance of Americocentricsm. The Caribbean heritage is ripe with folk and popular music that is a brilliant amalgam of Spanish, South American, and African influences seasoned with much sun, sand citrus and rum. Undulating, dancing rhythms characterize the time signatures of island music, giving it that unique piquant flavor common to calypso.

No, America did little to influence this music. Rather, America was influenced by Island music. The Louisiana Creole Louis Moreau Gottschalk incorporated much Island character into his short piano pieces. Later, both Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton blended the Caribbean into their composing. When one listens to this disc, the experience reveals that Jimmy Buffet was not so novel after all, much in the same way one reacts to Magic Dick Salwitz's (J. Geils Band) harmonica playing after hearing Little Walter Jacobs. André Toussaint was perhaps the most influential of Island artists in popularizing calypso.

A valid comparison of Bahamian folk music and American folk music can be drawn in olfactory terms. American folk music smells of the dry dust and heat of the rural south and the urban north. It smells of beer and Scotch whisky and cigarettes and humidity. Bahamian folk music smells of sun and sand, seawater, limes and mangos, rum and cigars. It is happy and infectious music and André Toussaint was its great practitioner. He illustrates this in many ways— solo guitar and voice, big band small combos. In all formats, Toussaint is in control, effectively spreading the sunshine of the Islands.

Track Listing: Island Woman; Gondolier; Est Es Felicidad; Complaini D'Amour; Calypso Island;. Little Nassau-Bahama Mama; School of Cha Cha Cha; C'est Si Bon; Perfida; Bambino;. J'attendrai; Cu Cu Ru Cu Cu PalomaWatermelon Spolin' - Here I Go Walkin'; 2: Jusque Bout Du Monde'Come Closer To Me Hold 'm Joe; El Reloj; Mi Yiddishe Mama; Nadie Me Ama; Marisa; Ciao Ciao BambinoGranada. (Total Time: 50:37).

Personnel: Andr

Year Released: 2002 | Style: Fringes of Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente (How to Disappear Completely)" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente (How to Disappear...
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Shipwreck 4" CD/LP/Track Review Shipwreck 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 2, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!