Oct 12, 2012
Afrobeat-influenced music from Martinique: Bèlènou
Bèlènou was created by Edmond Mondésir and Léon Bertide in 1980 in Martinique. Dedicated to bèlè music, traditional music from Martinique deeply rooted in african heritage, Bèlènou is still in activity more than thirty years after. Edmond Mondésir is a cultural and political activist well-known by martinicans. He’s a singer, songwriter, musician, professor of philosophy, also known as an independentist and a syndicalist. He’s also one of the persons who created A.P.A.L. radio (Asé Pléré An Nou Lité : Let’s Stop Crying Let’s Fight).
The Album Chimen Ta La (This Road) was released in 1983 on A.P.A.L. label and is now repressed in its original form; a gatefold double vinyl album by Léritaj : a brand new label dedicated to African Heritage within the diaspora which is the first release.
Edmond Mondesir was born in Fort-de-France (Martinique) in 1948. Professor of Philosophy, talented writer and composer, he is also a recognized singer and an awarded « tanbou bèlè » musician.
After finishing his philosophy career he returned to his birth place with the conviction of the existence of a rich musical tradition in Martinique. He then participates in many traditional groups and starts to investigate in the North Martinique’s provinces searching for the authentic Bèlé.
After this starting road, he creates with Léon Bertide the group Bèlènou in 1980 and records his first Bèlé’s album, with his own compositions and a traditional touch. In 1983, it comes out their second album, consecrated to modern instrumental Bèlé. Between 1980 and 2002 Edmond Mondésir makes nine productions, divided between traditional Bèlé and modern Bèlé, between sung bèlé and instrumental Bèlé.
During their 25 years career he performed with his group on the Martinica’s most prestigious stages. The artist’s fame expands all over the Caribbean and Latin America, and it was in a Cuban festival where he found the inspiration for the song “Santiago”.
In 2003, he receives the SACEM award as a homenage to his whole work.
Today, Edmond Mondésir is an important pillar in the Bèlé music in Martinique. He is, at the same time, a defensor of this music’s authenticity and the executor of its modernization about the Bèlé spirit’s integrity. But more than an artist, he is a cultural militant that has been fighting for thirty years for the Maritinican to be proud of their cultural identity and get it back.
The first album with Manuel Mondésir: « Emosion Bèlè - Les chants du père, la musique du fils » (2006) made and arranged by his son Manuel is the symbol of a bridge between two generations, an exotic and calm trip over a music with roots and multiple aspects.
In 2008 the second collaboration with Manuel Mondésir : « Emosion Bèlè 2 - Hommage à Ti Emile ». It's a tribute to one of the greatest singer of bèlè Ti Emile (1925–1992).
In 2009, he released two albums "Sé Pou La viktwa Nou Ka Alé" and "Nou Pa Pè".
2011, marks the reissue of "Emosion Bèlè" [remastered album and credited with 5 new titles for the first time available in France] and the European tour of the artist.
In March 2011, Edmond Mondesir receives the "Prix France Musique des Musiques du monde 2011" award.
A1. Chimen ta la
A2. 22 Mé
B2. Bélia pou pèp nou
C1. Omaj pou DAnyèl
C2. Flanbo pèp la
D3. Nou ni Sendika