SIMANGAVOLE perform the traditional yet powerful Maloya rhythm, the music and dance of the slaves of Réunion island, a French territory located in the Indian Ocean between Mauritius and Madagascar. Maloya is usually sung in Réunion Creole, traditionally with a purely percussion accompaniment. Maloya can be compared to the American music of the blues, often lyrically reflective speaking of the woes of life, slavery and poverty and is similar in its chant-response structure. Maloya also has links to Sega, the folk music of the Mascarene Islands which comprise Mauritus, Rodrigues, Seychelles and Réunion.
Maloya was forbidden by the French Government until the seventies because of its strong association with Creole Culture and its expression as protest.
The Catholic Church violently disapproved because it was used in servis kabare ceremonies, in which participants say they enter a trance and come face to face with their ancestors.
Performances by some maloya groups were banned until the eighties, partly because of their autonomist beliefs and association with the mantra of the Communist Party. There are known artists in the community who were imprisoned for practicing Maloya however, in 2009, Maloya was inscribed on the Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
An example of a Maloya Dance class, led by Katy Toave, lead performer in Simangavole.
Participants will be taken through a class of 1.30hours, learning the fundamentals of Maloya.
The will connect the music and rhythm of Maloya to the fusion of its Creole link, a meld between African and Indian roots.
DANSE TON MALOYA !
The indigenous music and dance form of Maloya was often presented as a style of purely African origin, linked ancestral rituals from Africa ("service Kaf" and Madagascar (the "servis kabaré"), and as such a musical inheritance of the early slave population of the island.
More recently, however, the possible influence of the sacred drumming of the Tamil religious rituals has been introduced which makes Maloya' heterogeneous African Malagasy and Indian influences more explicit.
Traditional instruments include:
roulér - a low-tuned barrel drum played with the hands
kayamb - a flat rattle made from sugar cane tubes and seeds
pikér - a bamboo idiophone played with sticks
sati - a flat metal idiophone played with sticks
bob - a braced, struck musical bow