The rich sounds of Maloya and Séga music, originating from the Réunion island (as well as Mauritius and Seychelles for Séga), have recently been brought to the ears of the Northern hemisphere’s music lovers. Hailing from the French Alps, where Réunion-natives and young “metropolitan” French youngsters have been sharing parties, food and music for years, Les Pythons De La Fournaise are a flavoursome electric “Séga” band and they have already put out a couple of albums over the last decade.
Though true to the roots and spirit of the genre, they developed a special sensitivity which defined their style; and this time, they are interpreting Séga and Maloya songs under the form of a – nearly – all-acoustic orchestra : “L’Orchestre Du Piton” !
This Long-Player has got a particular sound and character, starting with a powerful four-woman choir (often sung in unison, in accordance with the Maloya tradition). The “lead” is a different singer on almost every song, which brings a variety of tone and vocal texture to the album.
Instead of keys, organ or synth, Les Pythons went for accordion ; they also brought into the studio an array of percussion, ranging from classic bongos and bells to typical instruments of the Indian Ocean : the Kayamb, the Pikeur, the Sati and most notably the Roulèr – the king of them all, majestic barrel-shelled bass drum.
On songs like ""Anon Manz Demiel"" (Let’s go and eat honey), two crazy electric guitars with intertwined riffs add a fresh element to the sound – somewhat echoeing with Esquivel’s exotica and Congolese rumba at the same time !
And the most unusual fact on this record : there is no bass guitar. Perhaps the band had a statement to make; in our modern music culture where bass plays a central role, they prove that one can move to other sounds – and appreciate the more organic deepness of percussion.
Whether or not you look into the meaning of the songs (mostly from the Réunion repertoire with a couple of Mauritian exceptions and one original “Pythons” composition), you will feel the mood of the Creole lyrics – a deep love story in “Maloya Tantine”, an hymn to slowness and indolence in ""Tou Dou"", a clumsy chat-up scene in “Malbaraise”…
And overall, a joyful, fresh and sparkly energy emanates from this “Orchestre” sound, from this exceptionally talented crew. Oté !