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Léwòz a kowona-la - Corona song by Max Diakok

25.05.2020

Max Diakok is a choreographer and dancer from Guadeloupe. The artist uses a traditional format, the lewoz, to draw the attention to the crisis in a dialogic way.

(Click picture for the song's video)

Max Diakok describes the video as follows:
"First of all, I would like to talk about the circumstances that birthed the idea. It was during the first month of the lockdown. There were concerns about the growing death toll and increase in both artistic and practical initiatives.
Musical videos, Comedy videos, free online courses, proposal for online library and film library etc. Subsequently, from the 23 March, I developed interest in offering some educational videos to my Gwoka dance students. I desired to make my contribution to this anti-depression enterprise.  
  
I made a total of 3 of such videos as well as 2 videos for children.  I also took part in a video put together by contemporary choreographers, who were on the same training as me at the National Dance Centre, just before the pandemic. Similarly, I had a strong desire to compose a song to encourage everyone in the face of this scourge. I started to explore the piece that came to me with the Léwoz rhythm, one of my favourite Gwoka rhythms. It is a rhythm that is both warlike and full of spirituality. It evokes an incantation in my mind.

I then played with the sounds of the words to create my own text.

The difficulty for the realization of this project arose from the recording in lockdown mode. It was at that moment that I put a call through to Nathalie Jeanlys, who is a singer and whom I so much appreciate for her talent, her passion for Afro-Caribbean music, among which is Gwoka.  And the work was done remotely.

I recorded my voice with the aid of a smartphone.  Nathalie being more skilled in technology, used a software to fine-tune the recording and cleaned up all the parasitic sounds. She arranged the Boula drum (rhythmic drum), the vocal harmonies in the chorus, the chacha and the triangle (2 small percussions), as well as did the programming. Additionally, we contacted a great figure in traditional drum: Jony Lerond (Somnanbil), a drum soloist who also did the recording of his part on his smartphone. Finally, another big-name Dave Martial, a sound engineer, took part in this adventure by helping to perfect everything including the coherence and the sound imprint.

Once the recording was done, I sorted the video editing on a basic iMovie software. I then used excerpts from a choreographic solo of about ten years titled Pawòl a kò pawòl a ka* and also thought it judicious to use a dance from the scoreboard, which reminded me of the lockdown and how some people live. It is a dance performed in a shower of light and in which I attempt to get rid of imaginary knots. Finally, I filmed the shadow of my bust with minimalist movements and the same idea of limited space."

* Pawòl a kò pawòl a ka : Lyrics of the body, lyrics of the Ka Drum

THE INTERLUDE (LEWOZ) OF CORONA - LYRICS

Corona Corona Corona Corona
Wants to seize the crown
We are in a mess, but we will get out of it.
Let us be vigilant,
Let us bar the road from any danger.

Chorus:    
Let us not allow Corona to seize the crown.
Let us be vigilant.
Let us bar the road from any danger.
Give your voice
For the hearts to embrace
Impose yourself as talented drummers
Make your instruments resonate.

Chorus
 We are like little crabs
Corona forced us to bury ourselves in our holes.
Despite our lock down
We need to sprout again

Chorus
Locked down
I know that all countries are locked down.
Yes, we are locked down.
Let us not allow our dreams go up in flames

Chorus
Let all hearts unite
So that we will be able to blaze
You know that the worries are many
Stay locked down to stay vigorous

Chorus
Léwòz* Rhythm give us the energy
Bar the road against fear
We are not a heap of dust
Let no wind blow us away

Chorus
Corona Corona
Corona Corona
Let us not allow Corona
To deceive us like this

Chorus
 We are like little crabs
Corona forced us to bury ourselves in our holes.
Despite our lock down
We need to sprout again

Chorus
Léwòz: one of the 7 rhythms of Gwoka. Also: a gathering during which we play the Gwoka all night long (Léwòz evening).

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