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Zène’T Panon’s Tamil imbued maloya

Reunionese band Zène’T Panon is about to release ZÈNE’T PANON: Maloya Malbar, a modern maloya album imbued with Tamil influences.

Driven by their passion for music and a shared culture, Florian Bacar, Fabien Boquet, Daïka Ilata, Magalis Ines and Léon Peclet, have banded together to record ZÈNE’T PANON: Maloya Malbar. On the banks of the Rivière des Marsouins, they set out to play with Tamil inspired rhythm and melodies, using traditional instruments, the morlon, tarlon and malbar drums, together with the pikèr, the kayanm, the roulèr, the sati, customarily used to produce the distinctive maloya sound. A tropical rainstorm broke just minutes after the session had ended. Their hypotonic sound was later reworked by artists of the new wave electro maloya, including Jako Marron, EMB, Boogzbrown, Aleksand Saya and Loya. They strive to show that maloya has always been a fluid genre, lending itself well to variations and fusions which allows skillful musicians to exploit their full creative potential.

Zène’T Panon’ members have  thus made their own style blending Afro-Malagasy and Tamil cultures, a modern kind of maloya influenced by the music of Tamil rituals such as the yearly Fèt Bondié Marliemmen, Fèt Karly, Mars Dann Fé and Sanblani. Indeed, their music is deeply embedded in the spiritual. Each year, on 2nd January each year, Zène’T Panon’s members pertake in a firewalking ceremony which concludes a 18 days retreat at the Hindu Bras-Panon temple, following a strict diet to prepare for a meeting with the godess Pandialé. “The musicians cross the red-hot coals to give thanks, repent or appease the deity.” This devotion might explain the band’s explosive energy they translate on stage.

ZÈNE’T PANON: Maloya Malbar out October 4th via JuJu Sounds.

Zène’t Panon @ Îlet Coco / Reunion 2021