Known as Guadeloupe’s “first true rock stars”, The Vikings vibrant sounds spanned over an impressive five decades! Fusing funk, Creole jazz, reggae, Cadence-lypso, Konpa, Merengue, Guadeloupean Gwoka and Biguine, their modern Creole soundscapes are said to have influenced and birthed the later sound of the Zouk musical movement which flourished in the 1980’s. (Zouk is considered a synthesis of various French Antillean dance music styles of the 20th century: kadans, konpa and biguine).
These pioneers are now considered as the most important French Antillean band of the 60’s and 70’s!!
Though The Vikings didn’t play out-and-out rock, by definition they shaped and shook the conventions of music, just as rock stars of the time were doing; encouraging radical change and a spirit of anti-conformism. Their debut gig sealed their fate and success was there’s for the taking! Their popularity soared after their first live performance at the (very trendy) La Cocoteraie club in Guadalupe and their career flourished for many years.
A few years back, as part of its “Antilles Series“, Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness reissued the 14-track compilation Enko On Ti Tou, which featured some of the group’s best songs from 1966-2016. With such an expansive repertoire, covering such a wealth of sounds, it is fair to say you are spoilt when it comes to Les Vikings. Their experimental fusions of funk and jazz never just stick to the well-trodden paths, for their sound is laced with such a wealth of worldly influences. Take today’s song for example, which appeared on their 1977 record, Les Vicking’s De Guadeloupe. Firmly rooted in funk, this instrumental voyage takes us into the rhythmic realms of zouk rhythms, with soulful guitar licks and towering horns flourishing every soulful step…Let’s Stay Up Vikings has such a sweet blend of sound!