Hey, you thought I was done with the islands? I’m obsessed. My friends look at me with a sympathetic but somewhat uncomprehending smile when I enthusiastically go off about the political history of Mayotte or the untold story of Chikungunya on the Île de Maurice or the wonders of the accordian playing on Île Rodrigues. But Benn loxo listeners, I know you’re into it.
I just mentioned Rodrigues but that’ll have to wait for another day. Right now we got Réunion and the bluesy maloya of Granmoun Lélé.
The maloya style originated in the cane fields of Réunion during the slave days. At that time the island was called Île Bourbon. The word “maloya” from the Malagasy maloy aho, which roughly means “say what you gotta say.” It follows then the singing maloya songs was a way for cane harvest slaves to express themselves and speak their story. Maloya music is characterized by its prominent percussion and passionate, repetitive lyrics.
Granmoun Lélé is one of the maloya masters. He plays with a troupe comprised of several members of his family. Today’s selection comes off his 2003 release, Zelvoula.
ps- To quote MF Doom, “this one goes out to You Know Who You Are…”maloya, mayotte, réunion