Music of Reunion

In La Réunion, music has an important place. It is present in every major cultural events. There are two main styles of music from Reunion.

The first style of music is the Maloya. In most African languages, it means “pain”. It was created by slaves and Malgasy in sugar plantations. Mostly, it was a song of laments and claims slaves. Maloya was forbidden during a long time because it had the power to revolt crowds. The authority and settlers feared a revolution. Now, this song is accompanied by percussions and it is prohibited to not dance while listening! Maloya is often present in cultural and social events of the island. There are several styles of Maloya wich differs by their rythm and context : maloya kabaré (malgasy, paying homage to ancestor’s spirit), maloya pike ( popular creole song) or modern maloya (they use occidental instruments like guitar, saxophone…). Nowadays, Maloya be a part of island’s identity, it belong to the UNESCO heritage since 2009.

The most recognized artist of maloya in La Reunion is undoubtedly Danyel Waro. He is a representative of this music in France.

The second genre in Reunion is the Sega. It is present in many islands in Indien’s ocean but it is different on each islands. The dance is more sensually than Maloya. Men and women moves their hips, turn around them. This music comes from Africa although its exact origin remains unknown. It seems that settlers have made their French touch in this music with Parisian ballroom dancing.Sega would be a mix between two different world.

One of the big defenseurs of Sega in La Réunion is the Apolonia group. Successfull band, they even went make concert in France. This is very rare!

Apart from these music genres that represent origin and identity of La Réunion, artists of new generation are highly appreciated by inhabitants of the island. Following music of this time, this generation surfs the wave of major international success. Indeed, these local artists love to remix hits, adding their Reunion’s touch ! They prefer music like R’N’B, reggae, zouk and the famous kizomba ! Groups are present at local concerts. Generally, song are posted on Youtube and sometimes listened on the radio but they rarely exceed border of the island. Listen in unlimited on KREOL FM !

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