Founded in 1972, Malavoi (a variety of sugar cane, but also the name of a street on the island of Gorée, off the coast of Senegal, from where slaves were sent to the Americas) fuses French Antillean music with modern influences from across the Americas as well as jazz and a whole gamut of local styles. Reviving the music scene in their native Martinique, and, along with Kassav, became that island’s best-known musical export. Malavoi was a ‘roots’ band from the very start, long before the term had any meaning, respected for its conscious championing of the older Antillean traditions in the face of intense competition from Haitian and Latin music, and a commitment to making relevant contemporary music in an old-fashioned way.Over the years, Malavoi has performed at numerous festivals including Jazz a Vienne, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Nice Jazz Festival, Festival Musique Metisses, Paleo and Les Francopholies De Montreal as well as prestigious venues including L’Olympia, Lincoln Center, and Le Zenith Paris.Their strength has been never to lose sight of their original raison d’être: to continue a certain tradition of French Caribbean music. Neither Zouk or the group’s international success have eroded the Malavoi fraternity’s distinctive style and sound.
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