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Maloya's most strident female voice
With her super-sized Afro and looping ear rings, Christine Salem might be the spitting image of a mid-70s Roberta Flack, but this is one singer who's not killing us softly with her song. Hailing from the Indian Ocean isle of Réunion, 500 miles east of Madagascar, Christine's favoured musical expression is maloya, the heavily percussive, full-throttle indigenous sound of the island. Outlawed until the 1960s by the ruling French authorities because of its deep-rooted ties to Creole culture, playing maloya continues to be a statement of identity and defiance, its songs resonating with themes that date back to the dark days of slavery. A political animal herself, Christine embodies the music's spirit, her strong and soulful vocals weaving together influences from Madagascar, the Comores and mainland Africa. Songlines once crowned Christine "the queen of maloya", an anointment with which we surely concur. Long may she reign.
(Biography written by Nige Tassell 2013)