The singer Gwendoline Absalon, born in St. Denis on the island of La Réunion in 1992, has allready gone a long way in life. Music began with a family initiation, her uncle who is a musician, makes her sing the choirs for a maloya album when she was only 10 years old. It is also thanks to him that she plays guitar.
But music also starts paradoxally, as a fight against prohibitions imposed by a strict education, wich Gwendoline as a child never fully understood. The family is mainly of indian malbar origin, that no longer practices hinduisim. At home, they listen to Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Cesaria Evora, but there is no celebrating, no partying.
So it’s thanks to a unique determination for a young girl that she sings in a choir, takes lessons in stage presence and classical singing, with Nathalie Cadet. At 17, she is prize-winner, in music, at the contest « la Caravane des Talents ». At the same age in high-school, she meets young musicians that play jazz, particularly the pianist Matthieu Brillant, with whom she wins the contest « La Réunion’s best jazz singer » in 2010. This will bring her to do the intro for the concerts of Manu Katché and Hugh Coltman at the « Teat Plein Air » of La Réunion and to be on Eric Legnini’s side for a series of master classes on the island.
Gwendoline belongs to the internet generation, and her play list ranks from Edith Piaf toMaria Callas, therefore she is also nourished by quite an eclectic repertoire. In the year 2015 she is semi-finalist at the contest « les chasseurs de sons « on the T.V. show Music Explorer (France Ô) with a reinterpretation of Henry Salvador’s « Jardin d’Hiver » .
Gwendoline had to leave La Réunion for Bordeaux (an important community from La Réunion studys there) to live a young woman’s life in her manner. There she stops making music entirely to do music-therapy. Graduation, working with the heavilly disabled but disarray. On an evening of december 2016, Gwendoline is very impressed by a « fèt kaf »(1), in a cellar in Bordeaux : young people playing a maloya that she had neglected, she gets the message. Specially since the public in La Réunion is expecting a first album.
Then comes the encounter with her future great accomplice, the guitarist Rija Randrianivosoa and the drummer Hugo Bertil : her first album, Dig Dig is released in 2018. The album is magnificent, boosts Gwendoline’s success in La Réunion where she returns physically exhausted, but with a consciousness full of a new spirituality that has nothing to do with religion.
Gwendoline started reading books and…dictionarys ! Opening the french-creole dictionary given to her by the author Alain Armand she comes across the word « Vangasay » : it will become the title of her 2nd album, wich turns out to be a necessity since Gwendoline did not realy have the possibility to develop Dig Dig the way she wanted.
1-Ceremony of the « Cafres « (descendants of african slaves) Is the commemoration of the abolition of slavery in La Réunion, celebrated every 20th of december in memory of the 20th december 1848.