A native of the Moon Islands, Mounawar, doesn’t like his music to be boxed in a particular genre, choosing to surprise people with his experiments. “I don’t like ‘stickers’ on my music,” he says, adding that his genre is not really defined. “It’s always nice to offer something different, something that’s not in a box. People don’t really know what to expect and they’re often surprised with my music, I like that mystery around it. I work on different music projects which give me the opportunity to play all genres,” says Mounawar.
The artiste, who performs in different languages, says the texts of his music carries a universal message and revolts against the disrespect shown by men to each other and to the planet. Coming from the Comoros, which has a history of war, Mounawar has seen violence throughout his childhood and now looks for values of openness, generosity and sharing, against the widespread injustices. “I decided to get out of this violence, I am using music as a therapy to find peace. I am using my personal experience to make music,” he says.
The musician, who speaks about the consequences and the unfairness his people have suffered due to political context of his country through music, thinks that for an artiste, language is never a barrier. According to him, the real language of music is about emotions. “When you sing and you’re sad, it is felt in your voice, even or when you’re happy. I sing in many different languages, but you don’t need to understand the lyrics, the audience should be able to feel the emotions through the melody, the notes etc,” says Mounawar.
After the release of Sawa — his first album — he did a lot of shows for young audiences, which helped him get closer to the audience as well as to loosen up. “I don’t want to be too serious, I want to have fun and enjoy each gig as a unique moment. Every live concert will be different depending on the vibe with the audience,” adds the artiste.
Interested in worldwide music, Mounawar has experimented with different genres and his music is an Afro-oriental fusion oscillating between folklore and modernity, besides M’godro and Twarab. His father — who was chief of an orchestra of traditional music — had great influence on him. Mounawar always played different instruments with him. After that, he got interested in other music genres and explored them. “I’ve listened to artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Prince, M (Mathieu Chedid), and right now, I’m listening to metal bands like SkinDread (mix of metal and raga),” he says.
He has also learnt the tabla for two years and likes both the “silences and rhythms” in Indian classical music. Mounawar — who will perform at the concert Music from Reunion Island in Pune —says that there is a scope for every kind of music where people can easily connect with it. “My music is very rhythmic and uptempo. I can’t say if my music has a scope in India but there is acceptance for different music and culture in this country. Therefore, I hope the same acceptance,” says Mounawar.
Speaking about his recent experiments, he says, “I’m doing a project called Addict, which is very rock, almost metal. I also work with other kind of artistic projects, such as cartoon and live music events, or another project with a circus company for which I do beat-box and make music with my mouth. I’m also making music for a documentary.”