Music and electronic music from the island: in Saint-Denis, Reunion celebrates electropicals

For three days, Saint-Denis de La Réunion rocked to the rhythms of Électropicales, the island’s largest reggae, rap and electronic music festival. From Marcel Dittmann to PLK, and from Banani Soudsystem to Aurélie Zemire, take a look at a very basic, mixed and modern edition.

It’s an island 10,000 kilometers from here. West Africa is not far away. The coast of Mozambique is at an altitude of 2000 km, which is closer to the coast of Madagascar, just like the Comoros or Seychelles. Mauritius and Rodrigues are neighbors, and are sometimes grouped together under the name Mascareignes.

It’s an island… but it hasn’t separated from the rest of the world for a very long time. Mixed in essence – the French came to live there in large numbers from the 17th century, then Malagasy, Tamils ​​from India or Sri Lanka, and China – Reunion experienced a population change, mixing again and again. his music with.

So, of course, in Reunion there is no longer just maloya – brought in by Afro-Malagasian slaves in the 17th century – sega – a derivative of maloya bred by European music in the 19th century – or even seggae – the fusion of sega and reggae initiated by the Jamaicans. We also listen to Rap, Techno, House, Reggaeton, R&B, Trap. We play it too, this music, and we turn it sometimes. Ideas come from Africa, Europe, India and the Internet. In Reunion, it’s like everywhere: cultures come in, broadcast their ideas, go out, transform, and are, in turn, ready to influence others elsewhere.

Marcel Dittmann © Veronique Tournier

Electric, tropical.

« ElectrotropicsIt’s still more electric than tropical Question: Why isn’t electronic music now an integral part of the new forms of tropical music in Reunion and the surrounding area? In 2022, why does it still distinguish and separate the two halves of the name, when it probably won’t be? Well?electronic and tropical, “intensive island”?definitely.

ElectrotropicsHe played, no doubt, a part in this diffusion and this meeting, so evident, between traditional and largely transcendental island music, techno music, house and electronica (born in North America and Europe) that calls, for the escape of the soul, for the separation of the body, to rise in a certain form of the mental universe.

native island, Aurelie Zimmer He grew up with a séga or maloya heritage before discovering punk, new wave, house, techno. His blend, like the one presented on Friday, combines these effects. ” before arrival electrotropicalI didn’t even know electronic music existed Says the person who has been part of the festival program for a while and organized this year fuji ball Opening Friday evening. look elsewhere? Then enter.

Ball Kiki Voguing © Véronique Tournier

A look at the Indian Ocean

We want to take a look at the Indian Ocean ‘, confirms on his part, Thomas Bordesi, Director of electrotropical. ” About 50% of the programming comes from it. “, proudly presents at a press conference for this fourteenth edition which occupies the niche” The largest electro/rap/reggae festival in the Indian Ocean “.

In Saint-Denis, the capital of Reunion, the local audience is happy to see artists here who do not travel easily and not so much on the island. Every evening, about 5,000 people are announced in front of the concerts Marcel Dittmann (German DJ and Producer, Principal Resident at Berghain, Berlin’s historic techno club), from thylacine (the French playing the saxophone or the Andalusian guitar in the middle of his mixes) or international dub or reggae or group dancehall OBF sound system (+ SR Wilson & Charlie P & Junior Roy), which advocates peace, anti-racism, the right to difference, and unity among peoples. French, English and Catalan, Rastafari colors on display, Raggasonic (“blue white red”) wrapping and tremendous communicative energy. In the main platform, it vibrates.

Thylacine © Ludovic LAî-YU / Le Journal de l’île de la Réunion

The audience is also happy to see the French rappers in the flesh, the bones, and in the perforating lines Zola where PLKwho collect streams on Spotify, reach out to gangs, and make the island’s youth repeat phrases like “ I have a beast of elegance, your smoke loves me ” where ” Like Windows in 2002, cousin, we are the kings of the floppy disk “.” I drive a Porsche that costs the price of an F3 ”: the phone is on to act like a lighter and is broadcast on the networks. 10,000 km from the French capital (of which La Réunion, by way of recall, is one of the departments), the words are repeated by a young man (many college and high school students, he’s crazy! ) It is not always different from the one that can be seen in Paris, Lyon, Marseille or Nancy.Globalization is an idea that you should definitely get used to.

The international audience (mainly from mainland France, like your servants at Radio Nova, partners in the 2022 edition), there is more to discover what is being done on this side of the hemisphere. A combination ofIsland, DJ, producer and visual artist named “Maloya the Future” who fuses retro, electrification, tradition and modernity? Obviously we’re running there.

Who sees a meeting Agneska And the kobald To merge between techno, electricity and Malaya? We run there too…and dance there! Actors of the local rap scene embody them Sika Rellion (check the headlines ‘ruin pile’ or ‘lioness’, not too far from Kenny Arcana) in women or Nico Real Leon in men? find out!

Tout le monde y trouve son compte, et notamment la municipalité de Saint-Denis de La Réunion, qui soutient le festival depuis le début, festival dont la maire socialiste Ericka Bareigts, en conférence de presse, rappelait l’import l’importance capitale dan from the city. It also indicated the need not to make exclusively Parachoa – the historical district from which the city developed – a road that motorists cross to reach the cities of Saint-Paul, Saint-Pierre or Saint-Joseph. Make a transition zone a zone of life, celebration, culture? The idea is there.

Waterfront in Saint-Denis (Reunion Island) © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flicks / Creative Commons

Malluya, Sega … and its derivatives

In Parachua, the festival has been held there in recent years. The view presents a boom in the Indian Ocean, on the Piton des Neiges massif – which occupies roughly two-thirds of the island’s northwest – on these giant century-old trees on which festival-goers can rest their bodies. a few minutes. Among the powerful combination of Sam Wayland (DJ from Réunion, member of the collective Zusammen) and intention (minimalist home, also from reunion). The setting is, objectively, wonderful. The music escapes from the main stage (worn by ten screens…and by DJs) and from the alternative stage (where walls are painted with aerosols), setting out on a journey to the neighbors of the Indian Ocean.

to me electrotropicalDJs come from Mozambique (Nandel), Uganda (camber). Also from the neighboring island of Mauritius, such as Papani sound system, seen on Thursday evening at the Old Town Hall, in live band, during a launch event titled “Digital Kabar”, an alliance of traditional music from the region, electronic music, intrinsically linked to Kabar – these festivities during which Malawi has spread for centuries. He summoned the ancestral memory, the spirit realm, turning to the other side of the mirror.

The word “babani” in Mauritian literally refers to the idea of ​​”ecstasy”. In the trio, the group grinds their instruments, playing the kayamb (one of the primary instruments of maloya interpretation) and the ravanne (playing differently than the Reunionese, which refers to it!), accompanied by a light play taking motifs from the icons of Mauritius. The trio also launched their own label, Papani Records, which notably recreates rare, forgotten, long-hidden music from the Indian Ocean. They want “ To keep this music going, to create a connection between those who love Sega and those who love electronic music. They tell us: Through our music, we sometimes have the impression that young people, many of whom attend our events, are discovering the music of their grandparents! “.

“Reunion, lé la?! »

Potential grandparents? We face some of them, because the ageless music lover, Electrotropics. a few in front of a group Control unitone of the greatest record collectors in the Indian Ocean playing, in front of an audience of connoisseurs, Sega from La Region, Malluya from Mauritius, Mutia from Seychelles, who launched, in the name of London Strutt Records, a three-disc compilation of music that the past wanted to forget, but explorers of Sound like him they went to search for the limits of oblivion.

At the age of three we also came across in contact with a young avant-garde partying in front of a very energetic DJ set from Lyon. vegetarian (Two albums, lots of EPs and remixes, the POLAAR label I created with Marc Weistroff), then Juba, a British-Nigerian blend of electronic music and music imported from the African continent. We also meet them in front of the Moroccan group ڭlithR Glitter 55including the set, consisting of a bandage first introduced in sound nights (vigilance Written by Nathan Gompert and Lisa Laurent) Beats hard. Folk samples, techno kicks, percussion and gqom beats, protective earplugs are mandatory. On the other hand, the ocean flows all the way to the Mediterranean that borders the city of Rabat – where I was born.

Leather Glitter 55 © Ludovic LAî-YU / Le Journal de l’île de la Réunion

During her mixing and throughout the duration of the festival, the circus company Conditions are flexible He develops a hybrid practice between the circus and the traditional dances of the island. Some play Anakin Skywalker with flaming sticks (on an alternate stage roof, it’s very impressive), others play on stilts (a sacred balance) or hang from trees, head and body in the air. They are suspended, but not dead: on the contrary, they lead an intense life. Circassians make circles around the central basin limiting two stages of the festival, and the audience will soon imitate them – in a slightly less graceful form. In the aquarium, the most dissipated submerges. Security groans. Nothing deteriorates. All is well.

Circumflex © Veronique Tournier
Circumflex © Veronique Tournier

During technod, gossip, predatory, explosive combination of emotional delirium, based in Saint-Denis (at 93, this time!), the elements pile up: fire, stilts, sorcery, barefoot, dances that no longer have any meaning other than the ones we want to give them… It’s a big mess. It’s as beautiful as anything, this story. We get lost.

Sympathetic, like a festival which will circulate over two stays (+ an evening at Old Town Hall) about 10,000 festival-goers who came to Barachois in search of mixed and multi-world music, where cellar buddies technical with live band sound systems, piercing rap or techno under infiltration Maloya. See you next year for the 15th Anniversary of an essential festival for blending and changing minds, cultures and music. Freedom, lé la?

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