France: Once banned protest songs make comeback

Maloya a type of dance music from the island of Reunion was considered such a threat to the French state in the 1970s that it was banned. Maloya music is now becoming popular around the world – and is being used to express the anger of a new generation.


Maloya was seen by the French as a threat to the state and, sitting backstage by the sea after the show, Firmin Viry told me about life as a musician in those dangerous days.

He performed without being discovered by the French authorities by constantly changing his tactics, organising shows in different peoples’ houses, often under the guise of a birthday party.

Other musicians were not so lucky. He told me of his friend Augustin, who was jailed for playing maloya.

Maloya: The protest music banned as a threat to France
By Robin Denselow Terre Saint, Reunion

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