The second of Alma Negra's 12 Rhythms Series is dedicated to the Maloya sound from La Réunion, a tiny island where a
melting pot of cultures is reflected strongly in its music. Maloya's roots go back to the time of slavery, its quick tempo and raw
energy making it not only a popular dance music but also a powerful protest through movement.
On their Maloya EP, the Basel collective pay tribute to the hypnotic rhythms that were feared both by the Catholic Church and
the French government for the musical form's subversive part in the rebellion against colonialism.
The release revolves around two contrasting Alma Negra re-workings of Lindigo's Tany Be. The first takes a classic call &
response structure in 12/8 and 6/8 rhythms, adding a driving bass line and guitar licks. A solid 909-kick locks things in step,
along with a sax flourish and FM synths. Their re-imagining of African and Tamil influences for modern dancers is a triumphant
manifestation of the music's origins.
With the main reworking focusing on a rolling dance floor groove, the Dub Mix concentrates on trance-inducing aspect of
Maloya. Using a modular set up to pick apart layers of percussion, it is a dense and heady trip into the spirit world.
The B side focuses on Christine Salem, one of today's stars of the Maloya scene. Without wanting to squeeze the soul from her
deep tones, Kabaré is slowed down a notch, with drums added sparingly. This sensitive treatment gives the track just enough
weight and tension to punch in on todays dance floors without losing the intent of the original.
The source material for this EP has been road tested from the very beginning of Alma Negra's journey. The collective have gone
to great lengths to ensure the original creators are on board with their treatment of their music and are honoured to be given the
chance to distil their own ethos into a record that is bubbling with today's dance floor drive. Their reverent treatment aims to
preserve the power and beauty of the source material, to bring uncovered gems to a new audience.