When did we become synonymous with Zouk?

slu zouks 2

Weeks after the names of the six teams in the Caribbean Premiere League were released, I am yet to wrap my head around the name for Darren Sammy and his boys: “The St Lucia Zouks.”  There need not be much explanation as to the reasons behind the names of the other teams; Antigua Hawksbills, Barbados Trident, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs and T&T Red Steel. There is something that instantly connects each country to their names of course, with the Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors and T&T Steel, the easiest to grasp. But the St Lucia Zouk thing kind of threw me off.

As a lover of Zouk music from since the eighties, from all that I know it has its origin in the French Antilles, particularly Martinique and Guadeloupe with groups like Kassav, Gasoline Chictay, Zouk Machine and others. The songs are sung in French Creole to a fast tempo, reflective of these islands’ carnivals and contains indigenous themes and instrumentation. The closest musical influence to Zouk in terms of countries was probably Dominica with Cadence-Lypso, while a number of African forms have influenced the genre too.

Now I know we would love to conveniently call ourselves French, although we exiled ourselves from France long before 1979. And then at other times, one would swear our roots are closer to Tennessee or Mississippi with our affinity to Country music. This one I still do not get. So why not St Lucia Cowboys? Although I suspect my good friend and avid cricket fan Ernie Seon would prefer the St Lucia Creoles, a term he often uses. That might work don’t you think? Creole bread, Creole music, Jounen Creole, Creole pork are all things we love right? Or maybe the “St Lucian Copycats,” no explanation needed here. Or how about the “St Lucia Twosh” since our music and dances lately seem to reflect lyrics celebrating the female derrière.

Some of my friends may argue though that maybe we are so diverse in tastes and cultures that it is hard to hold us down to any one thing that identifies us. But that might be to simply come across as politically correct.

But seriously, the last I checked, the Pitons were our most famous and recognizable symbols. Then there are our two Nobel Laureates, our calabash and let us not forget our local bananas. Just ask Soca artiste Ambi and our most famous poster girl for the fruit.

I wonder too what the Secret Solo Band would make of Saint Lucia adopting Zouk instead of their indigenous “solo music” or even La Marguerite or La Woze. “Magawoze” anyone? I mean the Secret Band worked so hard to replace our national “S” word with their song “Bois” during last year’s Caribbean T20 Cricket games here earlier this year, they must feel like they have been given the short end of the stick.

But in these parts maybe we should be accustomed to politicians, selectors and boards shoving things down our gaping mouths. But according to CPL chief Damien O’Donohoe, suggestions for the team names were invited through social media and the final team names and the logos were reflective of the character and culture of each country. This I take with a pinch of salt.

The description for the Saint Lucia Zouks reads; “Saint Lucia is one of four islands in the Caribbean known for its zouk music, and so a fitting name for the Lucian team is the St Lucia Zouks.  The logo is a colourful mixture of blues and yellows with a flame symbol that is derived from the national coat of arms, representing a desire to win.” It goes on to say that the two characters in the logo are based on a combination of a classic Zouk dance pose, (huh) as well as a cricketer hitting a six and a backwards dive catch, all depicting the team spirit that franchise players Darren Sammy and Herschelle Gibbs will surely bring to the CPL. No word as to who came up with the design and theme and how much was paid for each one.

We put it to our readers to tell us if you agree with the name of the Saint Lucia team in the upcoming CPL. If not, suggest to us a name more fitting for your “Looshan” team!

Share your feedback with us.

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