7 Rhythms of Gwo-Ka

Toumblack, Graj, Mende, Padjambel, Kalandja, Woulé, Lewoz.

Each rhythms determines a mood, a philosophy, an event.

The 7 rhythms are the heritage of the Guadeloupe Islands, and they are classified as a Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Toumblack is a two-sound rhythm, fast which expresses happiness, love, and good mood. This rhythm is used a lot in performances, it  introduces a resumption as a signal of change of step.

Kalandja is a two-sound rhythm. It is played slowly to express  heartache and sadness. It can also express happiness, enthusiasm at the moment where the rythm become faster.

Woulé is a three-sound rhythm. It accompanies the work during the manioc production.

Padjambel is a three-sound, slow rhythm. A Creole waltz, it was danced with a scarf in the old days.

Mennde is a four-sound, fast rhythm. It alludes to escape and party. It’s an invitation to walk in parades and it gives a rhythm to Carnival.

Graj is a four-sound rhythm, slower than Toumblack. During the harvests, work in sugar fields was paced by this rhythm.

Lewoz  is a two-sound rhythm. It is mainly played on Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre. This rhythm has given its name to a celebration around the « Ka » drums. It is the reference rhythm of Gwo Ka.

Les îles de Guadeloupe  : “7 manniè dè chanté, 7 manniè dè konyé, 7mannié dè dansé. Gwoka sé lombrik  a Gwadeloupeyen” (Eric Cosaque, Chanteur). 

Guadeloupe Islands:”7 ways to sing, 7 ways to beat, 7 ways to dance. Gwo Ka is the soul of Guadeloupean”  (Eric Cosaque, Singer).

More about Gwo-Ka