Digital Zandoli I & II :: Zouk – Synthesizers and Drum Machines in the West Indies


Let’s make it clear from the beginning, what does zouk mean?
The Creole word zouk , sekwe, or zouke from the French verb “secouer” meaning “shake intensely and repeatedly”. Skah Sha and Magnum band were among the first Haitian music groups to use the word souke/zouke in the French Antilles. The word zouk has, over time, come to mean “a place to dance” or “party, festival” in the local Antillean Creole. And really this is music for parties, to move your body, to dance. Back in the 80’s, zouk was the music style that you can hear everywhere in the French West Indies, especially in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

The traditional origins of zouk are bélé, cadence-lypso, biguine, gwo ka and other Afro-Caribbean music styles

The traditional origins of zouk are bélé, cadence-lypso, biguine, gwo ka and other Afro-Caribbean music styles.The sound was combined with funk, afrobeat, disco and Latin Brazilian with the addition of drum machines and synthesizers during the creative process. So, Zouk came into the light. Like a tropical storm followed by a bright sunny day on a forgotten exotic island. Sound is highly danceable, attractive and unique. Digital Zandoli I & II, compilation/project captured the climate, credit goes to specialists of the genre, Julien Achard and Nicolas Skliris. A tropical experience!