Maloya - Bambara / Bobo - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic Balafon

Maloya

Last edited on 8 April 2021

M Maloya is balafon piece made by Aly Keita for his CD “Akwaba Inisene”. Maloya means “Shame” in Bambara.

‘Maloya is (also) a music genre of Réunion, usually sung in Réunion Creole, and traditionally accompanied by percussion and a musical bow. Maloya is a new form that has origins in the music of African and Malagasy slaves and Indian indentured workers on the island. Maloya was considered such a threat to the French state that it was banned in the 1970s.’ (Source: Wikipedia). In Mozambique, Maloya means, “incantation, witchcraft”, Madagascar Maloya means “talk, disguise” and other language in Africa Maloya means “grief, pain, discomfort”. (source: Waasi ‘Tikaf’ Nguvu).

Pattern A is a traditional African pattern. Youssouf and Ali Keita are said to have composed a song to the rhythm as well. The message would be: “If you love something, you should try to be the best at it too.” That goes for all the things you do. Even a thief should want to be “the best in his business.” So far I have only picked up some snippets of the text from the second part:

i ke ra fè fè fè so, i ke ra fè
i a ka wa nè, ba ra wa nè
i a ka wa nè, balafon wa nè

The left hand for pattern A can also be used to accompany the melody being played on the right. The right hand for pattern A – played on the left – can also be used as an accompaniment to the melody being played on the right.

Maloya

Sources:

Youssouf en Kassoum Keita, Konsankuy, Mali 2012.
The Dutch formation Havelok played Maloya for NPORadio4 in February 2021.

update history
  • 8 April 2021: Pattern A split, made a simple variant of B and C
  • 26 March 2021: information added about Maloya as musical style from Reunion.
  • 14 March 2021: Hand setting adjusted in melody and pattern B1 and B2 adjusted
  • 7 March 2021: Added melody line for alternating hands
  • 21 February 2021: New on the website.
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