In the tropical forest adjoining Grande Savane, a river runs, the streaming water drowning out the rustling of leaves, the pulse of insects and the birds’ cry.
The song of a man, more powerful than that of the waters, rises to the tops of the ancient trees. Polobi, balanced on a rock, launches a melody towards the infinity of the sky.
He has sung like this for more than half a century, since that day when, as a child, he heard the master Guy Conquète sing at the town fair and won a five-franc piece for sketching his first dance steps. Polobi’s mother begged him to stay away from the drums, that “old nigger” business. But the child was fascinated. Shunning the school bench, he headed into the depths of the forest to strengthen his voice, measuring himself against the elements and drawing on the telluric energy to feed his songs.
He was drawn to the drums of the léwoz (traditional rural music performances in Martinique and Guadaloupe), performing and singing with different Gwo Ka groups, throwing himself into a trance through the hypnotic dance. In the secrecy of the forest, he recorded his compositions on a simple cassette recorder, biding his time.