Danyel Waro is the real deal. Don’t miss him live.


Danyel Waro has been an instrumental figure in Reunion Island’s struggle from decades of cultural and political oppression. His tools – poetry and music. Waro was born in 1955 under French rule in Reunion Island. The son of a communist farmer, he was political from an early age, with strong ties to the land. An outspoken critic of the French regime in the 70’s, his refusal to do the mandatory military service landed him in jail for 2 years, where he began to write poetry his native creole. As well as being a well recognized poet, Waro is arguably the most famous living performer of traditional maloya, a music form which was banned until the 60’s. Maloya is rooted in African slave chants, and is traditionally performed with voice and percussion. Some accounts say the percussion comes from the sacred percussion traditions of the Tamil region in South India (Tamil people replaced African slaves as indentured servants in many instances after slavery was banned in 1848). It was used as method of political and social protest by Creole poets in the 60’s and 70’s.

Waro first heard maloya in 1970 from the musician Firmin Viry, who incredibly is credited with stopping the tradition from becoming extinct! Apparently the first public performance of maloya was by Viry at the founding of the communist party. Its role in the struggle for freedom is fascinating, but my main point here is to just give you a sense of where Waro is coming from.

Waro is a man with a lot to say. He helped forge the post-colonial identity (Reunion is still a department of France and so perhaps post-colonial is not the right word) of a nation through the power of word and music and although it is not always the case, this power is communicated with such raw sincerity and strength in his voice that it is undeniable. The cry for freedom resonates even beyond language to chilling effect.

GO SEE HIM LIVE IF YOU CAN – JULY 23 at the BARBICAN: http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=12158

You can listen to Danyel Waro on track 6, 14 & 15 on the Limbalimba Rock playlist.

Oh yes, and Aurelio. Well that is another fascinating story – garifuna music from Belize. The garifuna people are descendants of West African slaves and Amerindians that married on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. The more African looking ones were deported by the British colonial administration to a small island off Honduras, for fear of an uprising. Only about 2,500 survived the trip. From there they were eventually granted permission to resettle by the Spanish in Central America, where communities still exist today.

Their brilliant music tradition reflects elements from their journey starting in West Africa to Central America. Thanks to the devotion and hard work of people like the producer and musician Ivan Duran of Stonetree Records and the Cumbancha music label, garifuna music has recently begun to receive more international recognition through artists such as Andy Palacio (one of my favorites, who sadly died a year after his international album release) and now Aurelio.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

One Response to “Danyel Waro with Aurelio at Barbican on July 23”

  1. museradio.fm blog » Blog Archive » Menwar Says:

    [...] is a singer and percussionist from Mauritius island, in the Indian Ocean. I just wrote a blog post about Danyel Waro from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, and it strikes me that there are strong similarities [...]

Leave a Reply

/* google analytics added by olivia november 14th */