Monday, November 14, 2011


Fred Astaire & Eleanor Powell
The beguine is a dance and music form, similar to a slow rumba, that was popular in the 1930s, coming from the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, where in local Creole Beke or Begue means a White person, and Beguine is the female form. It is a combination of Latin folk dance and French ballroom dance, and is a spirited but slow, close dance with a roll of the hips.
After Cole Porter wrote the song "Begin the Beguine", the dance became more widely known beyond the Caribbean. The song was introduced in Porter's Jubilee (1935). Artie Shaw's extended swing orchestral version was a hit in 1938, and after its appearance in the musical Broadway Melody of 1940, it became a big band staple and eventually a pop standard by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

Artie Shaw's version:

Ella's version:

This is a Greek song from 1946 called “Mini from Trinidad” [music: Fotis Polymeris, vocals: Danae] – in the caption it says that it is beguine. This is where I saw the term and checked it out. I like this song...

Broadway Melody of 1940 is a 1940 MGM movie musical starring Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy. It was directed by Norman Taurog and features music by Cole Porter, including "Begin the Beguine".
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