Beach rhythms

sakifo fans

Spiritual folk music to Aussie dub. My review [£] of the Sakifo festival on Réunion Island:

There were, in effect, two festivals running side by side on this exquisite sliver of France in the Indian Ocean. On the main beachside stages the crowds mostly danced to hip-hop, rock and techno, with the occasional world music superstar such as Baaba Maal temporarily hijacking proceedings. The more subtle sounds — a Womad in miniature, if you will — tended to be clustered lower down the bill.

One unspoken theme of the Sakifo Festival is how France has come to terms with the island’s musical heritage. There was a time, only a few decades ago, when the authorities tried to suppress the percussion-based Creole folk music known as “maloya”, partly because it was associated with anti-establishment causes, partly because it was regarded as a symbol of an inferior culture. Things are different now. Home-grown performers such as the lyrical, jazz-influenced group Grène Sémé and the singer Christine Salem command the respect they deserve.

[Photo: fans arriving for the last night of the festival]

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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