Mapy the Violinist Destroys Stereotypes One Musical Note at a Time
Her sweet and endearing personality strikes a daring contrast to her laser-focused musical persona who continues to shatter stereotypes every time she plays her violin. When Mapy the Violinist plays her instrument, she takes on the role of a cultural ambassador who is determined to challenge the status quo. In this role, she has contested many stereotypes, such as, ‘a Caribbean cultural ambassador should be born in the region’, or, the one that says ‘you are more likely to be a conservative person if you play classical music’ or even the stereotype that says ‘classical music is the accepted genre of choice for violin players’. This daughter of African soil has embraced the challenge of being different in a world that is more comfortable with the familiar. She is serious about her role as an original thinker and cultural ambassador and she is determined to use her violin as her tool to introduce the world to Caribbean music.
Find out more about Mapy below.
Tell us a little more about yourself?
Mapy is from an island called Reunion which is close to Madagascar (off the East Coast of Southern Africa). She grew up in Paris and then moved to Guadeloupe where she was a violin teacher. That was the beginning of her love affair with Caribbean music. (More in video)
What sparked your interest in classical music?
Mapy started playing the violin at age six. Thanks to the encouragement of her mother and grandfather who were both music enthusiasts. Her grandfather made traditional instruments from their island and her mother’s interest in music spanned many countries and genres, so it was almost inevitable that Mapy would embrace music as a career choice. (More in video)
Was your family happy when you decided to become a musician?
Mapy’s family is very proud of her choice. By her own admission, the violin is a difficult instrument to commit too because it requires a lot of time and sacrifice. The thing that makes her family most proud is that she did not give up on her dream despite the challenges. (More in video)
How do you use your music to promote Caribbean culture?
While living in Paris, Mapy had many friends from the Caribbean. From a very early age, she fell in love with the country and the music. So it was no surprise that she embraced the opportunity to be a music teacher in Guadeloupe (in the French Caribbean). Now, she uses her violin to pay tribute to the culture that she fell in love with . She has performed at several Carnivals in Europe and been introduced to different Caribbean artistes. She is fully aware that many people are familiar with the violin but not Caribbean culture. Playing Caribbean music on the violin is her way of filling the information void. ‘Playing my violin is a tribute to Caribbean culture.’ (More in video)
I am trying to make the world discover Caribbean music with my violin.
Mapy’s biggest challenge was quitting her day job to pursue her musical career. It was a big step outside of her comfort zone. At the beginning of her journey as a professional musician, she played classical music in Paris. It was obvious from the start that she had a different approach to the music which was not necessarily embraced by her musical community at the time. But in her mind, ‘she is an island girl who wanted to maintain that side of her personality in her music. In her opinion, ‘Music is universal and the violin is not only a classical instrument it is an instrument.’ (More in video)
A lot of people from the classical industry did not understand why I was so different, but I was simply (being) me- I am an island girl and I just wanted to stay ME.
SOUND OFF: What song would you like to hear next from Mapy?
MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.