Danyèl Waro is an emblematic, militant and still very active voice of the maloya genre. The first vinyl reissue of his visceral volcano of an album, Aou Amwin, is available now.
As the son of agricultural workers from the upper reaches of Réunion island, Danyèl Waro draws inspiration from mayola music and artists like Firmin Viry. Here, he finds a mode of expression, resistance and reconciliation: “with him [Viry] I heal, I get drunk, i’m captivated, even.” We feel the same way. The 2010 album Aou Amwin (“Of You to Me”) was recorded in his spartan childhood home in Trwamar. The singer has achieved newfound eminence through this piece of work, which champions the ternary blues form that had originally been inherited from slaves. Waro is a proud flagbearer of this style, brandishing it as the soul of Réunion Creole. The sound is driven by the incandescent pulse of the percussion styles (roulèrs and kayambs) and the subtle polyphonies of his group. Waro’s electric vwa instrument spreads its melancholy poetry as a link; from the island source to locations across the seas.
Of the original 15 titles, the reissue of Aou Amwin serves to immortalize four poignant tracks in particular. Notably, “Alin,” on which the takamba strings act as a tribute to Waro’s friend Alain Peters (it was his favorite instrument). In “Mandela,” too, a mayola trance rhythm pays homage to Madiba (Mandela), punctuated by the perfectly calibrated flow of South African rapper Tumi Molekane (from the ensemble Tumi And The Volume). At a time when the new generation of maloya musicians are already following in Waro’s footsteps, from Ann O’Aro to Lindigo, Aou Amwin reiterates and reimposes its place as a seminal disc.
Danyel Waro, Aou Amwin (Buda Musique)