Presentation

 

 

An Initiative of Thierry Vaton and Georges Granville,

 

The mission of ADMC association is : to promote, transmit and make you discover the cultural heritage of creole music in various aspects such as: historical, sociological and geographical using several ways and media ( lectures, master classes, workshops, concerts, exhibitions, conferences, traning...).

 

ADMC wants to pursue its main goal by creating specific tools (educational book, cds, dvds...).

 

Through transcripts and analyzes, the ADMC wishes to promote the wonderful work done by great creole artists.

 

One of the main core values of the ADMC is to promote a stunning creole music worldwide.

 

This Music represents a phenomenal and genuine cultural crossroad, greatly influenced by multiple musical sources from Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and Europe.

 

This amazing musical blend is a pure delight that you can appreciate through the rhythms

and sounds honored and presented in this master piece by Thierry VATON et Georges

GRANVILLE : The Creole Music in Piano (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana).

 

 

The Creole Piano Book (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana)

214 pages _ cd included _ french/english

 

An educational reference book that presents the richness and diversity of the piano in the

Creole music (Guadeloupe-Martinique and French Guyana) from biguine, mazurka ...

to current rythms.

A book to the use of musicians, conservatories, music schools and the general public.

 

 

The Authors

THIERRY VATON

 

 

This musician with a powerful style and impeccable technique discovered his passion in Martinique in 1972. Born into a family of musicians, at first he did not show a preference for any specific instrument. Finally, after trying drums and flute, he opted for the piano. At 16 years old, he decided to devote himself fully to this instrument, which he began studying with the intention of becoming a professional pianist. He joined the Conservatoire de musique du 8e arrondissement in Paris and completed his training at the American School of Modern Music in Paris from 1984 to 1987.

He began playing on stage with Elik Tara and Gazoline in the late 1980s. Shortly after, he was invited for the first time by Dédé Saint-Prix to manage the musical arrangements on the album Lerdou (1987), and Joël Filin offered him the opportunity to showcase his compositions on the album Just Liquid (1988). This turned him into one of the most popular musicians of the day, regularly invited to accompany different groups and musicians, such as Kaoma, Kassav’, Angélique Kidjo, La Compagnie Créole, Dédé Saint-Prix, etc., in concerts given throughout the world.

 

 

From the late 1990s until today, he has regularly collaborated with many artists like Philippe Lavil, Dany Brillant, Patrick Saint-Éloi, Mory Kante, Myriam Makeba, Ralph Thamar, Jean-Philippe Marthely and Mizikopéyi, the first Caribbean big band, a concept that he created and implemented with Tony Chasseur.

Just like his model Quincy Jones, Thierry decided to use his talent as an arranger, composer and director to promote a broad range of musical styles and cultures. His musical language combines rhythms from his Caribbean heritage and the musical influences he has culled through his many exchanges and trips worldwide. As a band leader, he brilliantly oversees and directs a significant number of concerts and studio recordings.

This portrait would not be complete without mentioning his human qualities, including his humor, realism and humility, which are the perfect counterweights to the fleeting joys and day-to-day problems that come with a musician’s Bohemian lifestyle.

 

GEORGES GRANVILLE

In 1999, Georges first encountered a piano during a trip at the age of 15. Upon his return to Martinique, he studied classical music for 2 years. In the early 1990s, he again returned to Martinique after completing his studies and military service. His meeting with Olivier Jean-Alphonse was pivotal: from 1994 to 1997, he played regularly on stage with the band Théorème, whose other band members included Éric Virgal, Pier Rosier and Dédé Saint-Prix.

 

 

Influenced by many great pianists such as Alain Jean Marie, Marius Cultier and Keith Jarrett, in 1997 Georges joined the Bill Evans Academy in Paris where he studied for 3 years. This school focuses on improvisation and perpetuates the jazz culture.

Since then, Georges has been playing on stage in France and worldwide with Dédé Saint-Prix, Beethova Obas, Bélo, John Ellison, Tony Allen, Gérard Mendès, Zouk Machine, Tony Chasseur, Kali, Denise Reis, and has recorded a few albums with some of these artists. He has taught piano at the Institut de culture musicale since 2002.

Georges is a discreetly confirmed pianist whose playing is melodically generous and harmonically fine and whose technique combines firmness, gentleness, energy and variation, which is why he is such a recognized and sought-after instrumentalist.

 

 

Contents & Description

I – Method

Explanations and technical bases are presented to understand the Creole rhythms (biguine, mazurka, chouval bwa, quadrille, zouk, valse créole, bèlè, gran bèlè, and tumbélé).

Short examples along with an audio cd

 

II – Practices

Some exercises to improve the technique, although this book is not intended to learn the piano.

 

III – Transcriptions

Presentation of the style of the most renound pianists in the Antillo-Guyanese music world.

Alain Jean Marie / Fred Fanfant / Mario Canonge / Marius Cultier / Paulo Rosine / Daniel Marie Alphonsine / Jean Claude Naimro / Frantz Charles Denis «Francisco » / Jacky Bernard / Thierry Vaton / Ronald Tulle / Philippe Joseph / Chyco Jéhelmann / Denis Lapassion / Dominique Bérose.

 

IV – Standards

Scores of some standards part of Creole Heritage illustrating the exercises highlighted.

 

V – Compositions and musical arrangements of Thierry Vaton and Georges Granville

Scores of traditional compositions arrangementsand scores of compositions of two authors; for performance.

 

 

Preface by Alain Jean-Marie

Piano –because of the scope of its rhythmic, harmonic and melodic functions in Caribbean bands– deserves special attention. As the authors Thierry Vaton and Georges Granville rightly point out, “There are almost as many ways to play biguine music as there are performers.”

This method is surely welcomed!

While enabling Caribbean pianists of all levels to rationalize what they can already instinctively play in their bands, this book will provide musicians throughout the world with essential clues to understanding and properly playing our so highly sophisticated yet seemingly easy music. In fact, it is just the right chemistry between these three elements –rhythm, harmony and melody– i.e. the recognition of the status of the piano in Creole music, which makes it so irresistibly attractive.

As the piano is an entire band in itself, the authors, who are professional pianists, did not fail to note the relationship that our biguine has with New Orleans jazz. Just listen to the sound of Madame Thermes, who also accompanied Robert Mavounzy in his band. Solo, the left hand plays the percussive ragtime pompe. Albert Lirvat’s biguine wabap, both hands jointly accentuate the novel dissonances that characterize this style, including syncopation, offbeats, grace notes and other rhythmic novelties. Rather than the pompe, here we have a bebop-like playing style.

Through the practice exercises, readers can also gain further insight into the piano-vocal accompaniment formula, in the counter melody spirit.

Let’s not wait any longer to unravel these treasures!

Thank you Thierry Vaton and Georges Granville.

 

 

Piano in the West Indies_Roland Pierre-Charles

IT is hard to figure out exactly when the first pianos showed up in the West Indies (except those that were brought by colonial settlers). However, newspapers published prior to the eruption of Mount Pelée, in 1902, included may advertisements of piano importers and sellers.

Pianos were played especially in milat lounges, mainly by young ‘rosière’ girls. Most high school and junior high school students at the time had a good musical education. They all read music quite well since at that time there were no mechanical means available to play music.

In 1906, Léon Apanon revived biguine music after 4 years of ‘catastrophovolcanic’ mourning. Bands had no pianos. Pianos appeared (or reappeared) in bands in continental France, where there were certainly more pianos available. This was the time when the first generation of pianists began playing in Caribbean bands. There were many zorey, along with the famous René Léopold, also an English professor by profession, the Martial brothers and Marius Collat.

The biguine piano style has always been very close to stomp and stride piano : left hand playing the downbeat and right playing the backbeat, which is typical of all Creole Afro-Caribbean dance music, which is mainly based on two beats: the chained slave walk beat and heartbeat. Nemours Jean-Baptiste, the great maestro of Haitian music—creator of Compas music, and who some of us wrongly considered to be musically illiterate—based his entire theory on the 1-2 beat. Check the result ! This style persisted until the war years when the foxtrot and guaracha styles revealed a new generation of pianists : Rio Sommier, Nel Lancry or André Geneviève, who is also a trumpet player.

Is the piano a percussion instrument?

The piano style of Cuban bands emerged because of the lack of power of this instrument in the presence of four trumpets, four saxophones and as many trombones, along with broad range of Afro-Cuban percussion instruments: bongos, drums, timbales, tumbas, cowbells, guiros, maracas, etc. Apart from the nuanced style that may emerge during solos, the piano must be played in repeated octaves to be heard during an accompaniment. This style was showcased by the pianists Francisco and Marius Cultier starting in the 1950s.

Another way to play the biguine style, i.e. ‘boula piano’, emerged under the fingers of Fred Fanfant, the talented Guadeloupian pianist of Fairness Junior. It is actually a reproduction of the famous zan-do-li pa tini pat percussion movement. This comprehensive and effective style has become a benchmark for biguine piano.

The piano revolution burst with the arrival of two highly talented, yet seemingly contrasted (but maybe not....) pianists.

Marius Cultier was a self-taught pianist gifted with a great ear and an exceptional piano sound. He had understood that there is no need whatsoever to feel ashamed in the face of academic djaz, which is still part of our music, but also that our biguines (in a generic sense including, in my opinion, mazouk, zouk, etc.) are perfect jazz styles in the literal sense of the term.

Alain Jean-Marie, who is also self-taught, has an innate sense of the melodic approach, enhanced by a perfectly controlled harmonic sense. A contrario, he was able to integrate the bop language while never hiding its accents, intonations and rhythms—the soul of biguine music. It is no exaggeration to say that only Alain Jean-Marie can play with phrasing like Alain Jean-Marie, since his playing is so unique.

These two pianists can be considered as the foremost biguine piano creative forces known today.

©2015 by Clyde Bah.

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