One never stops learning, and when coming across the word “Maloya,” no one can be blamed for resorting to Google or Bing to lift the veil of ignorance.
Since October 2009, Maloya has been listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a unique feature from the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, a traditional music style dating back generations upon generations to the early inhabitants of the island, distinctly Creole in tune with much else on Reunion Island.
October 1 celebrations will be held on the island, spearheaded by Reunion Island Tourism, to showcase the cultural heritage of the island, which is in many ways so typically French and yet always blending perfectly with its Creolism.
A media release from IRT describes Maloya as: “Maloya is both a form of music, song and dance native to the island of La Reunion. Mixed from the beginning, Maloya was created by the slaves of Malagasy and African origins in sugar plantations, before spreading to the entire population of the island. Conceived as a dialogue between a soloist and a choir accompanied by percussion, Maloya today takes forms with more variety from both texts as instruments (djembe introduction, synthesizer, drums…).
Sung and danced on stage by professional or semi-professional artists, it mixed with rock, reggae, or jazz, and inspires poetry and slam originally dedicated to the worship of ancestors in a ritual context. Maloya gradually became a song of lament and demands for slaves and the last thirty years it has represented the island’s identity.
All events cultural, political, and social issues on the island is accompanied by maloya. This became a vehicle for political demands. Today, it is kept alive in 300 documented groups, including some internationally-known artists, and a specialized Conservatory Reunion music education. A factor of national identity and an example of cultural mixing, Maloya is today threatened by social change, and by the disappearance of its main figures and fading appreciation of traditions.”
Another reason to visit the island which is fast becoming one of the Indian Ocean’s favorite destinations.
For more information click on www.reunion.fr