Tamil rhythms recorded by the river in the lush greenery of eastern Reunion…
…reworked by Jako Maron, EMB, Boogzbrown, Aleksand Saya, Loya and released on orange vinyl by JuJu Sounds…
…will set malbar maloya fire on festival stages across Europe.
Zène’T Panon’s music is unique even within the musical microcosm of Réunion Island. On the eastern coast, the most humid and verdant part of the island, the group imbues their version of maloya with Tamil rhythms and melodies. Our recording session on the banks of the Rivière des Marsouins, deep among the lush vegetation, featured the hypnotic sounds of Tamil instruments: the morlon, tarlon and malbar drums. That lazy day by the river with the entire Zène’T Panon family contrasted sharply with the group’s explosive energy during their usual recordings. Besides their Tamil influences, the group are distinguished by their creative capacity for new rhythms and the energy that they deploy. The perfect harmony playing out between the musicians meant the material could be recorded outdoors in a single evening with practically no retakes, which was a blessing as a tropical rainstorm broke just minutes after the session ended.
Zène’T Panon is ready to deploy its energy during planned 2023 tour in Europe. We are planning to create a new form of event with strong focus on participation and experience rather than consumption of art. For generations maloya was a community buliding, spiritual space. If we are to benefit and learn from this music culture we need to change the way its presented. Contact us for more info and booking.
Next year summer tour will follow the release of JuJu Sounds new album Zène’T Panon: Maloya Malbar. This album is not just another nicely packaged world music artefact. Nor is it an academic attempt to archive Afro-Malagasy and Tamil heritage. Firstly, we don’t recognise the concept of ‘traditional music’. As with all concepts, of course, it serves a purpose. But music cultures have never been something fixed in time and space, something that can describe a permanent identity – on the contrary, they have always been rather fluid. The fixed, permanent trope is the domain of politics and institutional religion. Nowhere can this fluidity be observed better than in creole cultures worldwide. Already a blend of African, Malagasy, Tamil and European influences, maloya is now in the process of yet another transformation. This album is a bridge between the old-school, instrumental maloya and the thriving electro maloya scene. Played at private kabaré ceremonies by well-respected gramouns, maloya has been at the heart of Reunionese culture for generations. Can the kabaré – steeped in spiritualism, devotion and magic – become digital? Can a new form of maloya be a vehicle for the complexity of local social contexts? These questions are not unknown to the artists of new wave electro maloya. With this album, Jako Marron, EMB, Boogzbrown, Aleksand Saya and Loya strive to provide the answers.
JuJu Sounds collates field recordings and stories about music from all corners of the globe. The peripheral music genres, rhythms and melodies accompanying everyday life, and the practices related to transcendental experiences, initiation and ritual. Joyful dance or deep trance in which the transfer of knowledge takes place through the body, not through mental images. Music as an experience. he musical cultures inspiring a sense of dignity and belonging.
JuJu Sounds focuses on building bridges between musicians from marginalised communities and niche audiences from around the world. The mission here is to revive valuable musical ecosystems, not just to sell exotic products.