« Very exciting stuff » par Rock’n’Reel

Brass band music, but think more of the early New Orleans marching bands or Ghanaian high-life pionners rather than anything to do with he Brighouse And Rastrick. La Réunion is a small French island to the east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, and the « fanfare » bands originated as part of the colonial military before becoming part of the local musical tradition sometime in the19th century – and the music consequently changed quite drastically, too. The are eighteen titles by Orchestre Toussaint, recorded in 2000, and four titles by Orchestre Henri Mahé, from 1977, and the overall sound is loose and slightly anarchic, brass braying (a roaming accordion too, in the case of the first named group) and percussion driving things along on a programme of séga, the traditionnal music of the island in a loose 6/8 metre, wedding marches, instrumental versions of French songs, waltzes and others, including the politically charged « Maloya ». Very exciting stuff but definitely not for the faint-hearted. Norman DARWEN - ROCK’N’REEL