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Title: French Caribbean : adieu Foulard, adieu Madras : a sonic study in (post) colonialism
Authors: Oryu, Yoko
Baldacchino, Godfrey
Keywords: French -- Caribbean Area
Music -- Social aspects
Singing -- Social aspects
Island people -- Social life and customs
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Citation: Oryu, Y., & Baldacchino, G. (2012). French Caribbean : adieu Foulard, adieu Madras : a sonic study in (post) colonialism. In Baldacchino, G. (ed.), Island songs : A global repertoire (pp. 37-47). Scarecrow Press.
Abstract: Islands are worthwhile subjects for postcolonial study, and yet cultural imperialism has had different impacts in island settings where there was no indigenous population. Postcolonialism has affected territories that are not postcolonial in that they remain, often voluntarily, in a formal, but also problematic and deeply ambiguous, dependent relationship with an overseas power (Royle 2010, 215). “Adieu foulard, adieu madras” is a very popular tune from the French Caribbean. It is just as popular today in continental France, where it has been adapted to different musical genres. Yet, for those familiar with the simple melody and its evocative lyrics, which encourages carefree humming, not many may be aware that it is so deeply rooted in the history of French colonialism, island tropes, and ethnic relations. This chapter uses “Adieu foulard, adieu madras” and its multiple sonic meanings as the lens to better understand the dynamics of the (post)colonial relationship of the people of the French Antilles, particularly from the island overseas departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, many of whom have now migrated permanently to metropolitan France. For these, “Adieu” has now also become their song of exile.
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