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Country Reunion Genres band roots fusion Website
Festival Sauti za Busara 2013 Recordings
Margoz, 2001; Sankèr, 2005; Karma, 2009
Nathalie Natiembé is a phenomenon. A character whose calibre shapes the stories later told from generation to generation. She doesn’t need any tricks to fascinate. She just uses her voice like no one else. Natiembé lives on multiple influences, crossbred sounds. She is immersed in jazz, reggae and a lot of rock too. She mingles the latter with her maloya, a local blues, that for a long time and until only recently was banned by the authorities.
Natiembé says she has always sung, “dopui dann vant’ mon monmon!” (since starting in my mother’s womb!). Natiembé kneads and pummels the Creole language until the strong emotions she draws from its words take her back to its sources. In March 2001, she came upon her own Mozambican sources during a tour which had marked her personal life. She met many namesakes in the southern town of Catembe; thus her Reunion family has connected to its African roots.
Nathalie Natiembé’s international expansion has been strengthening since her first public appearance in 1997. She has gradually asserted herself thanks to her charisma and her strong, original songs. Natiembe sings the maloya, the “music of the earth”, like no other. Even acappella, accompanying herself on a small triangle, she has electrified festivals worldwide where she has performed.
Nathalie Natiembé cannot limit herself to only representing maloya. “My music is diverse”, she says. It has been drawing from other musical sources in the Indian Ocean, in Africa, in Europe and in the Maghreb, and mixing all these influences.
Deeply human and full of life, naturally cheerful, Nathalie Natiembé is atypical and unclassifiable. Stemming from a family of musicians, she is nevertheless fairly remote from the traditional musical streams. She thinks that much of the music from Reunion might just be too hybrid to be fully authentic.
Her quest for authenticity led to a sojourn in Mozambique in 2001. There she discovered the deep roots of this music. Surprisingly, her research work with three Mozambique musicians has allowed her to be more at ease with her various musical influences. These encompass jazz and blues, soul, r’n’b, sounds from the Caribbean and Cape Verde, classical music and Charles Trenet.