Homage to a great Maloya musician Françoise Guimbert (1945-2022)

Françoise Guimbert, the Maloya singer, died at her home on 25th March 2022, at the age of 76.

Her life was an example of perseverance.

The musician, nicknamed ‘the godmother of the Maloya’, was born in a poor family of Saint-Benoît. She completed primary  school, then at the age of 12 went to work as a housekeeper.

Gifted and determined, the composer, songwriter, singer and percussionist had her first musical success in 1978 with the song ‘Tantine Zaza’, which she recorded with René Lacaille at the Studio Royal in Saint-Joseph.

‘Tantine Zaza’: an interview with Françoise Guimbert conducted by Laurent Pantaléon in 2018


She then created the group Voulvoul, consisting of 18 musicians and male and female dancers. At a time when the Maloya scene was largely dominated by men, she was the first woman to set up a Maloya group on the island.

In 2001, recording her album Paniandy, Françoise Guimbert became known outside Reunion.

In 2014, she was made Knight of the Legion of Honour, at the same time as the musician Firmin Viry.

In 2016, on the stage of the Cité des arts, Françoise Guimbert celebrated her 45 years of performance.

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