Gilles Jonnais

Mizik Tan Lontan, Vol. 2

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Gilles Jonnais has been instrumental in keeping the traditional Creole music of French Guiana alive. He also produces numerous other artists, both traditional and zouk inflected. Volume two of his Mizik Tan Lontan is a collection of popular songs and other classics from the 1950s and 1960s. He tastefully updates these classic songs while retaining the traditional elements. While some of the orchestras of old used more trumpets, Jonnais recreates the ambience of days gone by with a great saxophone player and some creative synthesizer programming. This music is truly one of the undiscovered treasures of the African Diaspora. The Creolized versions of European dance forms combined with unique contributions from French Guiana itself make this music very appealing. It is sensually danceable and full of spark. The musicianship is flawless. The rhythms and melodies chime with the unmistakable Creole cadence that carries one away with the tropical lilt. The percussive drive contained on some of the tracks is quite a contrast to the upper-register sax and guitar work. It works as a driving counterpoint and takes the music to a deeper African level. Both volumes are indispensable introduction to the music of French Guiana. Highly recommended.