La Reunion Island

Maloya : UNESCO agrees to underlines the role of the Maison des Civilisations et de l’Unité Réunionnaise

Intangible cultural heritage of humanity

Témoignages.re / 2 October 2009

The nomination form said that the Maison des Civilisations et de l’Unité Réunionnaise has an essential role to play in the safeguarding, transmission and enhancement of maloya, as well as other vernacular practices. «The inclusion of maloya will be a mark of recognition, at the highest international cultural level, of a fundamental aspect of the vernacular culture of Reunion – for a long time marginalized and looked down on by the official authorities», UNESCO said.

The inclusion of maloya in the Representative List will have a symbolic effect and will provide greater visibility to already existing measures. It will encourage the authorities, associations, individuals and the cultural industry to develop sustainable activities.

As has already been mentioned on several occasions, maloya is a constantly evolving and creative living practice. Its inclusion in the Representative List can only make its expansion more meaningful and enhance its legitimacy. It will foster the development and revitalization of literary research (comparative literature, oral literature and myth criticism, and research in linguistics (Creole, Tamil and Malagasy) musicology, ethnomusicology, and sociology of culture and religion.

Furthermore, it will foster the development of study and practice in the arts and cultural heritage classes, and artistic workshops, of schools under the auspices of the Reunion education authorities. It will also help the further development of activities already undertaken by PRMA: collection, production of booklets and CDs, presentation of the music performed by groups during professional meetings between producers at the national and international level. It is also clear that raising the status of maloya will encourage the teaching of it not only at the Regional Conservatoire, but also in primary, lower and upper secondary schools.

Facilitate the development of cultural industries

Its inclusion will also facilitate the development of cultural industries (record, film and entertainment) based on maloya. For instance, the Cité de la Musique at La Villette, in Paris, will offer year-round workshops on the music of Reunion – including maloya – for schools. So inclusion will clearly have a multiplier effect, setting an example for other prestigious national institutions. These are thus development and promotion measures, rather than safeguarding measures, which should result in greater legibility and visibility at the national and international levels. The inclusion of maloya will be a mark of recognition, at the highest international cultural level, of a fundamental aspect of the vernacular culture of Reunion – for a long time marginalized and looked down on by the official authorities – and will have an extremely beneficial effect on safeguarding practices themselves.

Safeguarding the ancestor worship

In this context, the community as a whole is attached to the safeguarding, transmission and enhancement of maloya, as well as other vernacular practices. The future Maison des Civilisations et de l’Unité Réunionnaise, scheduled to be opened in 2011, has an important role to play in this regard. The cultural facility of 9,000 m2, built over five floors, will focus on the culture of Reunion, alive in every respect, and on its dialectical relationship with the cultures of the societies from which the local people originate. Special emphasis will be placed on maloya in every aspect of its performance.

The recognition and promotion of maloya will also contribute to safeguarding what is probably now the most fragile element of it: ancestor worship.


Kanalreunion.com


Facebook Twitter Google plus