Sarera and Blanc Manioc cultivate Mayotte’s heritage on Walimizi
In the town of Chiconi, on the west side of Mayotte, an instrument maker is the heartbeat of the island. Fondi Cole Assani is one of the members of Sarera, the fusion of Petit Klan and Ragnaou Dzoby, two bands representing Mayotte’s musical identity all over the Indian Ocean. More importantly, he’s one of the only few musicians able to manufacture instruments on the island: the gaboussi replacing the guitar, the dzendze, a sort of maorais zithar, the m’kayamba, an idiophone coming to life when its grains are moved. And in Lyon, on the east side of France, the Blanc Manioc label led by DJ and producer Dom Peter is at the heart of the rich afro-electro scene’s development. In June 2021, a residency brought together Sarera and Blanc Manioc.
From these weeks of prolific collaboration Walimizi, which means “cultivator” in shimaore, was born. The goal is “cultivating values together through artistic practices, cultivating in a new way exchanges nourished by tolerance, in a fraternal and respectful way. Respectful of the past of traditions and different temporalities. To move forward as much as possible together in the new world”. This ambition translates to original titles from Sarera and remixes from international DJ friends from the island, notably through the Kayamba festival. It starts with “Tseki” and its “lost” youth on a catchy rhythm. The same track becomes menacing, almost hostile in its bass remix by the duo Pangar. Then comes “Tsindzaka”, remixed by Praktika, commanding the crowd to stand up and danse to the enchanting rhythm. Sarera needs space on “Laisse-moi danser” (Let me dance), a bouncy track with a techno spin on Tunisian DJ Deena Abdelwahed’s remix. Finally, Cornelius Doctor & Tushen Raï from Hard Fist label offer the mystical “Choungui”, where forest sounds blend with robotic voices. With Walimizi, Blanc Manioc and Sarera hope to export maorais productions outside the island, with the power and the echo of electronic music.
Walimizi is out on November 18, via Blanc Manioc.

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