In French Guiana, each region has its music. North of Kourou, on the coastal strip of savannah plateau, has developed a slow pace: the Grajé, both dancing couple – highly codified – music, party and social practice. The African slaves had watched the dancing master, including the waltz, and were joining with the African drums.
It was also a time when inventing songs for defusing or regulate conflicts within the community villageoise. People “had a grajé” and it was part of life.
Today, small farming communities no longer exist but the Guyanese Grajé received the inheritance. The songs, previously only transmitted in oral tradition, were transcribed. Dance has adapted the practice Grajé now alone, in a group. The ritual dance is diluted, but the imprint remains in a hypnotic dance where participants whisper the lyrics.
This 26-minute film was shot in December 2013 during the first Grajé festival, organized by the city of Sinnamary. On this occasion, a number of former “big people”, dancers, singers and tambouyens testify to what was the Grajé, while Marie-Françoise Pindart ethnomusicologist and lecturer in language and regional culture Monique Blerald speak of its vitality.
That film was realized in the context of a public contract and it is not for sale. But it may be obtained by contacting the municipality of Sinnamary. It is only available in french with creole subtitles.