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“When you know where you come from, you know where you are going.” So runs the motto of Olivier Arasta, the charismatic leader of the popular Réunion Island band Lindigo and a committed champion for the continued development of maloya, the country’s vibrant symbol of creole culture. Lindigo’s mission is to celebrate a maloya that is free and forward-looking, and builds on the musicians’ proud heritage. Exploring mixed Malagasy, African and Indian roots, they incorporate into their high-octane performances traditional instruments like the West African balafon and Madagascan kabosy as well as influences from their travels in Morocco and Brazil.
In Lindigo’s 5th album, Mi lé Sek Mi lé, Arasta’s voice seems even more personal and intimate. Arasta vows, “It is time to take a stand. I was born maloya, I breathe maloya, I will die maloya. Now I give voice to the load weighing down my heart with this music that runs through my veins.”
Before going on stage, Olivier always makes an offering to his ancestors, whose spirits are summoned by Lindigo’s chants, and by frenzied rhythms played on the roulèr, the pikèr and the kayamb, thereby giving the eight band members energy, faith and courage. But while deeply rooted in the traditions and ceremonies of his homeland, Madagascar, Arasta’s maloya is also an integral part of the present, swaying with positive vibrations and lighting up the dance clubs.