Words by Teesha Kooraram
Zilwala is a Mauritian band that indulges in a unique fusion of maloya and seggae, which they call the maloggae. They bring forth innovation and a contemporary aspect to local music with rather organic sounds like the ‘kayamb’ as percussions. Through the album ‘idantite’ we swing across diverse societal dilemmas and dive into philosophy.
‘Fos Profet’ has caught my attention with its social storytelling about issues affecting people. It lays emphasis on phoney promises and hopes that are given to people; and we are propelled into the narration of victims of embezzlement. Zilwala are engaged in promoting the Mauritian culture through music and traditional instruments. They allows us to discover Mauritius intimately with islander rhythms and beats. Our body moves naturally to the quick beats of Jean-Noel Sardes’s percussions and the drums of Ti Punk. Zion, the composer, and vocalist sways us in his journey through his raw and soulful voice. Optimism and the love for music radiate in his variations and scales. Jimmy Serret at the bass and Ninjah at the guitar brings in the tempo while Coralyne Cerdor embellishes the composition with a feminine touch through other tracks.
‘Trayizon’ relates to the path of people who endured pain of being betrayed. Zilwala illustrates the narrative surrounding the impacts of divorce on a family and it inspires through music to empty their pain through maloggae music to soothe their souls.
‘Trayizon’ evokes a solution to a social issue and encourage people towards a path of more positive attitudes. Zion embarks us in a vulnerable and tragic melody at the beginning of the track and captivates us through a bubbly melody with intense lyrics.
Fast-forwarding to now, the band has evolved into ‘Zilwala Renesans’, which in literality stands for the ‘Rebirth of Zilwala’. The musical compositions have been altered and new band-members were introduced. In the guitar section, Steeve St Medar amaze us with solo movement while Ludovic Baniaux engenders tempo with rhythmic maneuvers . We get a musical punch with Fano Malabar on bass; Damien Agatine and Fabrice Slyva give us the beats to uncontrollable moves with their percussions. The lead vocalist, Zion, harmonises the compositions with an unflinching energy and spearheads the project to further avenues.
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