From Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, the “potent, indefatigable contralto” (The New York Times) Christine Salem is the greatest living champion of maloya, a nearly-extinct musical tradition rooted in the work songs and chants of the island’s African slaves. The hypnotic, percussion-driven music is based on rhythms played during ceremonies dedicated to ancestors, and is layered with rousing call-and-response vocals. A force of nature on stage, Salem delivers socially-conscious lyrics in Creole, Malagasy, Comorian and Swahili, while shaking out the tempo on a traditional rectangular reed rattle, the kayamn. A channel to another time and place, she seems to fall into a trance while inducing the audience to do the same.
Her new album “Mersi” released on Friday, 29 January. “Tyinbo” one of the track of the album evokes the painful subject of domestic violence. We see her in the video clip riding a horse through the city of Saint-Denis (Reunion Island), followed by many women.