Reunion Island, near Madagascar

During a trip to the small Indian Ocean island of Reunion, where we played at the Sakifo Festival 2012, we got to taste real creole music and culture and had the chance to meet and record a couple of young artists from Reunion Island and the even smaller next door Mayotte Island, both of which are French overseas territories.

Bo is the best exponent of the Maore hip hop sound.  He began his career in 2008 with the release of his mix tape Masterehi and over the last few years has won several prizes, including in 2011 the prestigious Indian Ocean Music Award.  His songs mostly reflect his thoughts on the future of his home island, Mayotte, and his live shows are incredibly dynamic, mixing hip hop with local rhythms to create new Mahoran grooves.

A musician from the Reunion Island, Maya is from the band Ziskakan – one of the most famous groups on the island.  Her music is a mix of modern folk and traditional Maloya sounds, so she often sings in creole.  Mayola music dates back to the times of the slavery and was banned even up until the 1960’s because of its strong association with creole culture and often politically oriented  themes.  Maya herself also plays the traditional kayamb, a rattle made from sugar cane stems and filled with seeds, which is shaken horizontally with both hands.  She’s currently working on her first album.