WOMEX is proud to announce the winner of the WOMEX 10 Award for Artists: Danyèl Waro, the uncompromising maloya hero from Reunion island.
He will perform on Sunday morning, 31 October 2010, during the Awards Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only. The laudation will be offered by Jaana-Maria Jukkara, Director of the Global Music Centre in Finland celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Philippe Conrath, whose Cobalt label has released Danyèl Waro's music for the past ten years, writes "If Danyèl Waro always wanted to remain free and to lead his career to his own rhythm – a rhythm embedded in the earth, in the good son of a farmer who knew the work of the fields from a tender age – he has nevertheless, in the course of these last fifteen years, played at the biggest European festivals."
"A part of his professional history begins elsewhere in Berlin, at the Tempodrom in 1996, in the framework of the Heimatklänge festival whose artistic director had discovered him at the festival Africolor in Paris in December 1995. It's in Berlin where he records a live album "Foutan Fonnkér", which becomes a revelation in France, a CD which will go on to sell fifteen thousand copies in La Réunion (amongst a population at the time of 750,000 inhabitants!)."
"The journey may seem slow until this WOMEX Artist Award 2010, an award that he will receive almost ten years after his favourite artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but it is exemplary because Danyèl Waro has never made even the slightest compromise during all these years, nor at any time in his life. At the age of twenty, he spent two years in prison in France for refusing military service."
"Danyèl Waro has remained faithful to the tradition of acoustic maloya, the blues of La Réunion, the volcanic island of the Indian Ocean, two cable lengths from Mauritius. There he is recognised as a hero. Musician and poet, he knows how to sing Creole with unparalleled emotion: 'For me the maloya is first of all the word. I seek the cadence, the image, the rhythm in the word. Thanks to the maloya, I have stepped back from a connection to Cartesian philosophy and too conceptual judgments. The maloya has put me in harmony with La Réunion, with the people, with our language'."
"Long obscured, the maloya was revived in the 1970s by the independence movements, prior to the renaissance of the 1980s. And Danyèl Waro with his talent enables the maloya to find again its original meaning and bear a message of revolt, hope and courage in raising awareness of many in La Réunion of the importance of their cultural heritage."
WOMEX is delighted to present the WOMEX 10 Award for Artists to this special musician, singer, activist and poet who has fought, for decades, to revive a musical treasure from the Indian Ocean and who has popularised its pearls on an international level. WOMEX feels honoured that Danyèl Waro has accepted this Award..
Original text in French: Phillipe Conrath, English translation: Colin Bass
WOMEX Supports Danyèl Waro's Project Kazkabar
Along with his WOMEX Award for Artists Danyèl Waro will be given money to put into a project of his own choice. He will be using it to support a nonprofit organisation he founded six years ago called Kazkabar, meaning “the meeting house”. Philippe Conrath reports: “Danyèl Waro formed a settlement in a field just a stone’s throw from his house, in Bwarouz, on the hillside of Saint-Paul, La Réunion. Kazkabar rents a 2.5 hectar field here for 2,000 euro per year. The association doesn’t ask for any aid and finances its activities through annual payments from participating families (10 euro per year) and from gifts. Having no water tap, electricity or refuse collection, it is thanks to the rain water that they can sow and tend to their trees and plants. Mutual help, exchange of knowledge and the generosity of people and nature are the basis of all activities. They call this Bitasyon Fonnkér which refers to a close relationship between the goodness of the soil and the depths of the heart. The idea is to plant in every sense: planting words, seeds, love. It is a space for farming and culture, enabling people to re-establish a relationship and redefine the balance between the self, the earth, and our ancestors and children, without feeling fear or shame. In the Kazkabar, they use the soil practically to teach modelling and how to mix clay and straw. They try to reuse the goodness of the environment and respect the different players within: trees, animals, human beings. Kazkabar is a place to develop and to pass down the history and language of Réunion Island, with a Creole school for adults and children. A small final detail: alcohol is forbidden but euphoria certainly isn’t.”
Translation: Marielle Clauet and Bryony Middleton
Photo credits: Phillipe Conrath
Further information on Danyèl Waro, including sounds and video:Booking Contact: Run Productions
Label Contact: Cobalt
Danyèl Waro in fRoots
Danyèl Waro on Mondomix
Danyèl Waro on Wikipedia (fr)
Danyèl Waro on Arte TV: Best of Mondomix
Danyèl Waro biorgraphy on rfimusique.com