Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Unknown Suriname Aléké Band - ? #1
Unknown Suriname Aléké Band - ? #2

Aléké is a musical meeting between the Creoles of the Dutch Antilles and the runaways of the West Indies. During the gold rush of the 19th century, people from neighboring islands and coastal Suriname and French Giana traveled south to find work, areas occupied by those descended from fugitive slaves (Maroons to some, not so P.C. to others) where gold was found. Thus the existing Creole forms of song and dance such as Winti and Kawina (coastal-Surinamese music with links to Dutch military marching bands) blended with the music of the inland settlements which was known to be very well preserved from it's African roots. The new form of music became very popular among the Creole and Ndyuka people, eventually spreading throughout the country and into neighboring French Giana in the 1960s. These two tracks actually have nothing to do with the record cover above (which is the first commercially released Aléké recording from 1980), but are fantastic recordings that should give you a good idea of what Aléké is. I apologize for the lack of information concerning the musicians being nameless, not my intentions. For further reading and where I've pulled my sources from, read Kenneth Billby's Aleke: New Music and New Identites in the Guianas, available as a PDF.

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