Next month London’s Strut Records are to release the first ever compilation series that will access the archives of one of the greatest of all French Caribbean labels, Disques Debs.
Originally established by Henri Debs during the late 1950’s, the label and studio existed for over 50 years, releasing over 300 7” singles and 200 LPs, covering styles varying from early biguine and bolero to zouk and reggae. Debs’ role in bringing the créole music of Guadeloupe and Martinique to a wider international audience was crucial and it was thanks to his label that this music reached so many.
Volume 1 of the Disques Debs International series marks the first decade of the label’s existence and takes in big band orchestras, home-grown stars, touring bands and a new generation that would emerge at the end of the ‘60s. Early releases were recorded in the back of Henri’s shop in Pointe-a- Pitre, from his own sextet playing percussive biguines to young saxophonist Edouard Benoit, leader of Les Maxels and regular arranger for Debs bands. Other artists included acts ranging from big bands like Orchestre Esperanza and Orchestre Caribbean Jazz to poet and radio personality Casimir “Caso” Létang and folkloric gwo ka artist Sydney Leremon. Debs also capitalised on recording foreign touring artists visiting Guadeloupe during the early ‘60s including Haitian trumpeter Raymond Cicault and Trinidadian bandleader Cyril Diaz (read more about Cyril Diaz on my blog post here)
This first ever official release from the Disques Debs archives was compiled by Hugo Mendez (Sofrito) and Emile Omar (Radio Nova) and is releasing in conjunction with Henri Debs Et Fils and Air Caraibes.
Disques Debs International comes in three volumes: Volume 1 covers the early years of the label from 1960-1972 and will release on 26th June, with Volumes 2 and 3 following in 2019.
Previewing now from Volume 1 of this series is a gorgeous track by Guadeloupe musician, singer and drummer, Guy Conquette; an artist who was considered as one of the essential musicans of modern Guadeloupe. Assez Fait Cancan is warm and colourful, with a slow-paced beat and rich vocals..check out above and pre-order the first volume of this rare series from here.