Lycinaïs Jean

She has the look of today’s youth—pierced, tattooed, androgynous—and the soul of romantic poets through the ages. She blends her music but refuses to blend herself, or calibrate her career arc according to market forces. And therein may rest the spark of the singer-songwriter’s prodigious talent. On her debut eponymous album, Lycinaïs Jean (“Jean” pronounced as in Billie Jean), with roots in Guadeloupe and Martinique, now living in Paris … More Lycinaïs Jean

Toto Bona Lokua: Bondeko

Bondeko, the work of three prodigiously gifted artists who mix voices and compositions to produce a dreamy, multi-layered sound, is a transcendent microcosm of the musical diversity of Africa and its Diaspora. The singer-songwriters—Gérald Toto (Paris-born guitarist/musical director with roots in Martinique), Richard Bona (Cameroonian bassist, who commutes between Paris and New York) and Lokua Kanza (Congolese guitarist based in Paris)—first … More Toto Bona Lokua: Bondeko

Elle&Elles: Kalenda

Marijosé Alie is a journalist, author and singer-songwriter. Her daughter Fred is a painter with a background in architecture—and a singer-songwriter; younger daughter Sohée is an actress, dancer—and singer-songwriter. After years of singing together at home, mother and daughters mixed their talents and experience into Kalenda, a dazzling mini-world rooted in Martinique and, like the island, flavored with ingredients from all over. Their blend of languages (Créole, French and English) and genres … More Elle&Elles: Kalenda

Lakou Mizik: Wa Di Yo

Nothing compensates for losses from war or disaster, but tragedy can generate compassion, medical advances and transformative art. Lakou Mizik, a collective of nine musicians formed after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, performs to lift a nation’s spirit. Founded by singer-songwriters Steeve Valcourt and Jonas Attis, the group draws from a luxurious sound palette of voodoo ceremony, rara parade, carnival beat, racine (roots), French café and folk music, all sung in Haitian Creole. After … More Lakou Mizik: Wa Di Yo

Joël Jaccoulet présente: Créole Pop

Joël Jaccoulet is a producer, arranger, songwriter and musician who has a passion for the sounds of his own culture but doesn’t hesitate to mix styles—for what is Créole if not a blend? On Créole Pop he assembles an extraordinary collection of artists with backgrounds in French chanson, soul, hip-hop, zouk, reggae and jazz. The album’s 13 tracks, sustained by guitar, keyboard, ukulele, cajon and washboard, among other tones, paint a rhapsodic … More Joël Jaccoulet présente: Créole Pop

Marvin: By Marvin

Zouk emerged in Guadeloupe and Martinique as a carnival-beat music style, but in recent years it has taken on a more sensual cadence, conducive to slower dancing and love songs. It has also transcended its Caribbean origins, attracting artists without island roots. The singer-songwriter Marvin Yesso is a case in point. Son of French mother and an Ivoirian father, he grew up in small-town Brittany. Despite an early preference for soul … More Marvin: By Marvin