Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Dream of Genie: Christine Salem and "Djinn"

Today's random tune is performed by Christine Salem from the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, a French territory about 120 miles southeast of Mauritius. Her music centers around "maloya," the traditional music made up of work songs and chants of the former African slaves of the island. These songs are percussion driven and of the call and response type and are often used to induce a trance where one communes with their ancestors in a musical gathering called "servis kabaré". The music was illegal on the island until 1981, as it was considered by the Catholic Church to be "devil's music" and by the authorities as a political threat. In fact, a woman singing this type of music upset some of the older generation, because it was also generally seen as "men's music." Salem came upon the music while attending a servis kabaré, and she became hooked. She has received international acclaim for this music, and has performed at WOMAD. The recorded version of this song, Djinn, can be found on her 2013 CD Salem Tradition.