Concept album: Mélanie Pérès: A daring transformation

Enter into the character of a strong woman with raw language. A woman who asserts herself and is not afraid to let it be known. This is the theme of “Oze”, the new five-track by Mélanie Pérès. To be discovered live, this evening, at the La Isla 2068 Festival, at Château Labourdonnais.

Work for a year on courses leading to a master’s degree at the University of Reunion. It means no longer being the same at departure as at arrival. Especially after completing the program in one year, when others take two.

The metamorphosis in Mélanie Pérès is very audible. Loud, some would say. Too bad for the narrow-minded, the stuck-up and the promise-makers of all kinds. The artist proclaims: “No time for that.”

No time to waste. She channels her creative energy towards a new phase of evolution. A concept album of five tracks entitled “Oze”. Released on Thursday May 9, it is available on download platforms.

Five tracks that take us into a techno-voice universe. Don’t look for the title track “Oze.” He does not exist. This is the concept of this artistic approach, which goes in the direction of audacity, of impudence. Labous sal. To assert truths. An exercise in letting go, which “cost quite a bit”, she confides. “But my mission is accomplished because it makes people react.”

What Mélanie Pérès dares is the affirmation of a strong-mouthed female character, strong in convictions. In five songs, we come face to face with a kare kare character. Without concessions. “Si to ankor dan zip to mama/Pa gagn letan pou al fatig mwa”, says the song Mo attract. The last title, Kan vini vinn drwat, starts the circle: Mo bien kare (…) Monn ase bes lizie. Just to drive the point home.

This strength, this rage, “has always been in women, but it has been diminished over time. It’s time to get it all out.” says Mélanie Pérès. “To take back our rightful place.” She is part of a movement where more and more women are freeing their voices to “tell it like it is. This is happening a lot in music at the moment. Mélanie Pérès speaks of Reunion Islander Maya Kamaty as “the closest example we have but there are so many others that I went to listen to”. She also cites Gotopo and Shygirl, among others.

This inspiration/perspiration was worked on during an artistic residency, in May 2023, in Reunion, with the beat breaker Be Bass. At the time, Mélanie Pérès was in the middle of her academic questions about the “Kreol ghetto in Mauritius. How this talk of the Kreol ghetto nourishes the language. She believes that now is the time to get this ghetto Kreol out of the mouth of a girl. Artistically, she wishes to negotiate a rope turn. “I didn’t want to do the same things again when I returned to Mauritius.”

Through producer Jimmy Veerapin, of Culture Events, contact was established with Be Bass. For a “long work before arriving at this character”. The one who modulates his fury for life on “Oze”. “Until today, I’m learning to get into this character,” confides the artist. A character who is not shy about swearing. And who swings in “Vander”, the opening track:

“Bann vander rev

Zot nek rass dung manze

After zwe sin

Ar bann etranze

Zot deklar fold beautiful pattern

Si tir tout sa res lapo kinton

Sanse sov ras kouyon

Pe pran ti dimounn pou enn bann clown

Nou nepli ena lettan

We won who knows who rolls

Ki pe krwar pe koz ar zanfan?

Find us on our couch

In the intro, “Oze” plays a soundtrack of our lives. Someone is knocking on different doors. When the first opens, we hear, against a background of hubbub, the phrase: “I order you out.” Followed by a statement that has gone down in history: “Vacoas pou vinn enn Manhattan.” Mélanie Pérès states: “I really wanted to bring attention to all these classics. Saying that we have to stop taking ourselves for idiots.” Context before the title “Vander” starts. Because the techno-voice of Mélanie Pérès is intended to be a song “engaged”. To, in five pieces, talk about politics, feminism, society. To dance to the beat. While letting yourself be carried away by the text.


Balance between artistic and academic

Mélanie Pérès obtained her master’s degree in linguistics and literature from the University of Réunion at the end of 2023. She aims for a balance between her artistic and academic activities. She will be among the teachers who will ensure the Kour Kreol Morisien, which starts today at the University of Mauritius. Before starting a Ph.D.


Be Bass, the shadowy accomplice

With the beat breaker Reunion Island Be Bass is a total of 24 songs which were created by Mélanie Pérès. A repertoire that we can hear this evening at the La Isla 2068 Festival, at Château Labourdonnais. “Mélanie Pérès is on the sun side, I am on the moon side. I come from metal before going into electro, while keeping the influence of metal. explains Be Bass. “I took her to the dark side.” His job was to offer him “new feelings, another means of expression”.


Songs that don’t play on the radio

Saying things as they are requires petty names for the new musical character that Mélanie Pérès has created for herself. Except that songs where swear words are used are not broadcast. This is what happened Thursday, on the airwaves of a private radio station, where the singer presented her concept album. “That says a lot about freedom of expression. There are swear words that come across in French or English because many people don’t understand them. But when it’s in Kreol and the slaps are given, it’s censored.”

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