December 18,2021

Episode 15

From colorful ancestral left-field club music out of La Reunion to a mind-blowing accordion track from Bosnia

In Episode 15 of TSIR – an adventurous and inspiring global journey for music lovers, we dive into a 12-minute noise rock masterpiece from England and are blown away by an outstanding accordion track from Bosnia. We also drift away to a sublime ambient folk song from the US, discover colourful ancestrally influenced club music from La Reunion and fall in love with the diverse and playful music from a versatile Brasilian singer.

Featured Artist: Boogzbrown

Boogzbrown from La Reunion released his first full EP called "3883" in April this year on InFine Records. I love the combination of his ancestral beat and percussion structures, which he transformed very well into a 21st century sound aesthetic and on this EP he creates something that cant be categorised and pinned down to one single genre etiquette at all.

Boogzbrown was exposed to a myriad of musical and cultural influences from a very young age. These forces are very apparent, even if sometimes surprising, on “3883“, and only become a congruent whole under the vision of a true artist - like colours that become a painting by the particular strokes of the brush.

He was happy to join us for an interview for our featured artist series, which you can find below.


 Can you tell us a little bit about the EP. As I understood it is your first solo EP ?

Yes, "3883" is my first solo EP, it's a 5-piece electro-maloya/Digital Kabar panel. Maloya is the traditional music of Reunion Island, it is used to celebrate, to militate, to tell about daily life or to connect with spirits, and it is what I try to express in a modern way. I started to experiment and blend it with electronic music for years, and this EP is a digest of what a Creole guy, lost in the Indian Ocean, can do in 2021. In 3883 we navigate in several genres of electro-maloya, BPMs are different, rhythms seem different. For me, it's a way to show that we can dream far while remaining connected to our origins.

How did you develop your artistic voice, your musical language? Do you have any classical music education?

In fact i didn’t have any musical education, I started to produce hip hop on a computer at the age of 14 withe my little brother. It was a very intuitive way. Sampling, looping, and chopping. Classic style. Later in the 00’s i was rapping and composing in a rap / dancehall group. When the band broke up I continued to compose instrumental and started to experiment with new styles of music, and gradually dig into electronic.

No voices just music, and what we can communicate without lyrics. At the same time I attended some kabar fonnker (gatherings of poets who proclaim their poems in Creole), maloya concerts, local exhibitions and I rediscovered my culture. I guess it's what we call maturity that pushed me to mix the two genres. I'm kidding, I think I wanted to express something even deeper and more linked to the environment  I live in.

Boogzbrown - image by Eric Lafargue

As I understand you are also a visual artist and you see your music as a continuation of this work? Can you explain the connection between the two a bit?

At the same time I was doing music as a teen I was into graffiti, then I did fine arts school and I started to have a reflection on my identity and my culture. The question was: why reproduce codes without putting my own singularity in them? I started to paint (in my visual artist duo Kid Kreol & Boogie) pieces in relation to Reunion Island imaginary. And I decided to do the same with my music, make research on Maloya rhythm and push it further with my modern tools. It’s my way today to perpetuate a legacy and express my spirituality. Finding a new path and ‘creolizing’ music by mixing the ancestral and the contemporary.

Would be curious to understand a little bit more about the music scene in Reunion. What does it look like? Any contemporary arts and music there? And what impact does Reunion have on your artistic output?

What should not be forgotten is that the island of Reunion is a French island. We are therefore connected to contemporary worlds in music, dance, visual art etc. Cultural institutions are very developed and support local contemporary creation. More specifically in music, the electronic scene exists for years, and more and more people are starting to take an interest in our multiculturality.

The electro-maloya scene is settled, there are very good artists like Jako Maron, Labelle or Loya, and outsiders like Eat My Butterfly, Insula or Bebass, you should listen to their work. There is a lot of styles and quality, and we still need to federate, to establish this scene in an international way.


What part does the traditional, ancestral music play for you with regards to your own music? 

There was no transmission of cults and rites in my family, while we evolve every day on an island very steeped in synchretism, animist beliefs. I consider my work as a reconnection to the origins, and as a spiritual quest. And all of this goes through the use of maloya.

Traditional rhythms are the symbols of this research, they link me to my ancestors, to the spirits, to the island, to the ocean and to the cosmos. This is the base, the structure of each track. Maloya is generally in 3/4, 6/8 or 12/8 time signature, so used to electronise them, and sometimes blend it with the modern genre I’m interested in, like juke, techno, trap, etc. It's between play, research and intuition. 

Anything else you would love to tell people about your art ?

At first, I only thought about talking about Reunion in my work. My virgin island, without a past. It allowed me and other artist to imagine our beginning in a decolonial path, and to dream beyond its limits. We try to speak to feelings, sensations, and desires, which are freed from frames and borders.

Boogzbrown live

Can you share with us three artists/albums that you listen to or that have inspired you lately?
I’m a very versatile kind of listener. Last month I listen to a lot of Tim Hecker to work with when I’m drawing or painting for now one of my favourite albums are ‘Virgins' (especially the track "Virginal II"). I listen also to the local band Groove Lélé with the ’Sapik Maloya’ album (tracks ’Sezi Malgass’ and ‘Zavotiango’ put me in kabar mode). And I like Clap!Clap! very much for his work of blending world and modern music, his ’17  album ‘a thousand skies’ is very inspiring. Creole is the future!