Ribongia's Guide To The Reunion Island Music Scene

Ribongia's Guide To The Reunion Island Music Scene

The king of tropical bangers has just unleashed a brilliant debut album, M∆∆T.

Last week saw the release of Ribongia's long-awaited debut album M∆∆T, and let's just say it was worth it. One of the country's most exciting and intriguing electronic producers, he's hard to pigeonhole as he is fun to get down to. And M∆∆T is the perfect reflection of that. Across 12 inventive tracks, it's a trip around the globe sonically and reflection of his own journeys spending time in his hometown of Florence, relocating to Australia, travelling to South America and Europe regularly and completing artist residences in both Reunion Island and Mauritius.

Bouncy, upbeat and uplifting left-field electronica of the highest order, it's those last stays where we focus this piece on today. Having recently spent some time back in Reunion Island, we asked him to send us a few acts we should check out from the region, which you can do below along with drinking in the wonderfully vibrant cocktail that is M∆∆T, below:

5 REUNION ISLAND ACTS TO CHECK:

Kiltir:

Fronted by local legend Nono, Kiltir is a Maloya family group. Kiltir (not to be confused with our national treasure Kilter) in Creole means culture. In the same vein these boys are determined to transmit Maloya music to future generations. Maloya is the traditional music of the slaves imported to the island by the French in the mid of the 1600s. These guy's music is infectious but I think its one of those things that needs to be experienced. I was lucky enough to befriend Nono and write a tune with him and his brothers.

Bastien Picot:

He’s the most talented singer I have ever met. No joke, his control and range are out of this world. Not to mention in person he’s a funny as shit. He and I got together a few days and wrote what I think is an amazing couple of tunes. He’s from Reunion but spends half the year in Paris where he’s a vocal coach, professional singer and artist. He also once worked in Stevie Wonder’s band as a back up singer.

Simangavole:

Female super group fronted by Katy, these ladies in my eyes, in the Maloya scene, are the female counter part to Kiltir. Currently they’re touring South Africa but I was lucky enough to grab them before they hit the road. We wrote a fast pace number a la Buraka Som System as well as having them sing backing vocals on one of the tunes I wrote with Bastien.

M’Toro Chamou:

Originally from Mayotte (north of Madagascar), M’Toro is a force to be reckoned with. He’s a dope guitarist, songwriter and such a character. To my ears his music has more of an Afro-rock feel then the local traditional Maloya. M’Toro in Creole means the one who refused slavery.

Kaloune:

Some lucky few got to see her live in Sydney when she did a short run of shows. This girl has done it all. She worked (and still does) as a professional actress in theatre, has published poetry books and now her music career is taking off. What I like about her is that she’s blending traditional music with modern electronic music but in her own unique way. She hasn’t released much yet but the demos I heard are awesome. We might also have a few things in the works..

Labelle:

I only met this dude at the end of my trip, so I didn’t get to work with him. I would’ve loved to. He makes experimental electronic music infused with traditional sounds. As he described to me, he thinks of music inscapes and colours. I personally find his work super interesting and despite being from a small place like Réunion his making waves in France and the rest Europe.

So Watts:

These guys are super fun. A DJ crew made up by Do Moon, Fluidz, Boogzbrown (this dude is also an amazing visual artist too) and Psychorigid - they organise a tonne of dope parties. They love to play Baile Funk, Moombahton, Dance Hall, Trap and House music. Basically all the fun shit. While I was there they took very good care of me.

UPCOMING SHOWS:

Sat 28 Apr - Groovin The Moo @ Maitland Showground, Maitland

Wed 2 May - SOSUEME @ Beach Road Hotel, Bondi

Fri 8 Jun - Banquet @ World Bar, King's Cross

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