Wawa is a performer and composer of salegy, a genre of music from the northern coastal region of Madagascar. He is among the most popular contemporary salegy artists and has recorded songs in collaboration with numerous other Malagasy artists. In 2011 he released an album of traditional salegy, featuring kabosy, marovany and traditional percussion accompaniment.Wawa enjoys strong popularity among Malagasy audiences both domestically and within the diaspora, and regularly tours at home and abroad. In 2010 the band completed extensive tours to sold out audiences in France and Madagascar. A music reviewer for Midi Madagasikara described Wawa in 2013 as the "perfect entertainer, who never ceases to perform at the highest levels."
Salegy[ˈsaleɡʲ] is a popular music genre from Madagascar. Originating as a Sub-Saharan African folk music style in the northwestern coastal areas of Madagascar, modern salegy is the genre of Malagasy music that has gained the widest recognition and commercial popularity in the international market. Its sound is considered emblematic of the island. Eusèbe Jaojoby, a Sakalava singer from Antsiranana, was a key originator of the style and is widely considered the "King of Salegy".
Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.
The kabosy is a box-shaped wooden guitar commonly played in music of Madagascar. It has four to six strings and is commonly thought to be a direct descendant of the Arabic oud. The kabosy has staggered frets, many of which do not even cross the entire fretboard, and is generally tuned to an open chord.
The highly diverse and distinctive music of Madagascar has been shaped by the musical traditions of Southeast Asia, Africa, Arabia, England, France and the United States as successive waves of settlers have made the island their home. Traditional instruments reflect these widespread origins: the mandoliny and kabosy owe their existence to the introduction of the guitar by early Arab or European seafarers, the ubiquitous djembe originated in mainland Africa and the valiha—the bamboo tube zither considered the national instrument of Madagascar—directly evolved from an earlier form of zither carried with the first Austronesian settlers on their outrigger canoes.
Eusèbe Jaojoby, commonly known by his surname Jaojoby[ˈdzodzubʲ], is a Malagasy composer and singer of salegy, a musical style of northwestern Madagascar. Critics consider him to be one of the originators of the modern salegy style that emerged in the 1970s, and credit him with transforming the genre from an obscure regional musical tradition into one of national and international popularity. Jaojoby also contributed to the creation of two salegy subgenres, malessa and baoenjy. Jaojoby has been called the most popular singer in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands, and is widely referred to as the "King of Salegy". His success has earned him such honors as Artist of the Year in Madagascar for two consecutive years (1998–1999) and the role of Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999.
The culture of Madagascar reflects the origins of the people Malagasy people in Southeast Asia and East Africa. The influence of Arabs, Indians, British, French and Chinese settlers is also evident. The most emblematic instrument of Madagascar, the valiha, is a bamboo tube zither carried to the island by early settlers from southern Borneo, and is very similar in form to those found in Indonesia and the Philippines today. Traditional houses in Madagascar are likewise similar to those of southern Borneo in terms of symbolism and construction, featuring a rectangular layout with a peaked roof and central support pillar. Reflecting a widespread veneration of the ancestors, tombs are culturally significant in many regions and tend to be built of more durable material, typically stone, and display more elaborate decoration than the houses of the living. The production and weaving of silk can be traced back to the island's earliest settlers, and Madagascar's national dress, the woven lamba, has evolved into a varied and refined art. The Southeast Asian cultural influence is also evident in Malagasy cuisine, in which rice is consumed at every meal, typically accompanied by one of a variety of flavorful vegetable or meat dishes. African influence is reflected in the sacred importance of zebu cattle and their embodiment of their owner's wealth, traditions originating on the African mainland. Cattle rustling, originally a rite of passage for young men in the plains areas of Madagascar where the largest herds of cattle are kept, has become a dangerous and sometimes deadly criminal enterprise as herdsmen in the southwest attempt to defend their cattle with traditional spears against increasingly armed professional rustlers.
Philibert Rabezoza, better known by the name Rakoto Frah, was a flautist and composer of traditional music of the central highlands of Madagascar. Born in 1923 near the capital city of Antananarivo to a poor rural family, Rakoto Frah surmounted the challenges posed by his underprivileged origins to become the most acclaimed 20th century performer of the sodina flute, one of the oldest traditional instruments on the island. Through frequent international concerts and music festival performances, he promoted the music of the highlands of Madagascar and became one of the most famous Malagasy artists, both within Madagascar and on the world music scene.
Nicolas Vatomanga Andrianaivo Rakotovao, known as Nicolas Vatomanga is a Malagasy saxophonist, flutist, bandleader and composer. His music combines elements of jazz, blues and traditional musics of Madagascar, including: the hira gasy of the Centre, the beko from the South and the salegy from the North of the Great Island.
Elie Rajaonarison was a poet, artist, professor and civil servant from Madagascar. Considered the standard-bearer for modern Malagasy poetry, Rajaonarison's published poetry anthologies earned him international recognition and have been translated into French and English.
Rossy, born Paul Bert Rahasimanana, is a singer and songwriter from Madagascar generally considered the most popular Malagasy artist of the 1990s. Beginning his musical career as an accordionist and singer within a traditional hira gasy musical troupe, Rossy innovated a fusion of hira gasy instrumentation and vocal style with contemporary rock, funk and folk sounds to create a uniquely Malagasy genre of contemporary popular music. Rossy actively promoted former president Didier Ratsiraka through concert performances throughout his presidency and served within the Ministry of Culture to promote artists' rights and copyright law. When Ratsiraka fell into disfavor following the contentious 2001 Malagasy presidential elections, Rossy went into self-imposed exile in France. He returned to the island to give concerts beginning in 2008 and enjoyed enormous popularity despite six years of absence, setting an unbroken record of 35,000 tickets sold for a performance given that year. His compositions and style are frequently associated with the Ratsiraka socialist period and commonly evoke a sense of nostalgia among Malagasy fans.
Jerry Marcoss is a singer and composer of kawitry, mangaliba and salegy music of Madagascar. Born in Antalaha in 1980, Jerry Marcoss is responsible for the national popularization of the kawitry genre of the northeast coast and has been termed the "King of Kawitry" by the Malagasy press. Since launching his musical career in 2001, Marcoss has released five albums and regularly gives performances across Madagascar, as well as in Europe and throughout the region. He is a high-energy performer and is distinguished by his positive lyrics, which are notably more universally comprehensible than many of his peers who sing in the northeastern coastal dialect of the Malagasy language. In 2006, he won the national award for Artiste Mafana de l'Annee. He has received several awards at annual musical competitions hosted by Radio France International, and has frequently collaborated with other popular Malagasy artists.
Justin Vali ranks among the greatest living players of traditional Malagasy music on the valiha, a bamboo tube zither considered the national instrument of Madagascar. He also performs on the marovany box zither of central and southern Madagascar. Vali contributed to several compilations in the late 1980s before beginning to release his own albums in 1990. In 1994 he recorded Ny Marina at Real World Studios under Peter Gabriel's Real World Records. In 1999 he released The Sunshine Within, a collaboration with Paddy Bush. In 2008 he collaborated with Eric Manana and other prominent Malagasy artists to record an album as the Malagasy All Stars. Vali resides in Paris and performs regularly on the international world music festival circuit, including performances on several continents with the WOMAD festival. In 2006 he was awarded the Grand Prize for Traditional Music by Société des Auteurs Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique, the French songwriters' guild.
Lego is a Sakalava musician who performs accordion music in the traditional style of the coastal regions of Madagascar. In addition to his acclaim as a musician, Lego is also known for having lost his sight as a child, and for being the half-brother of Malagasy superstar Rossy. Lego has released numerous albums and has toured regularly on the international world music circuit.
Mily Clement is one of the originators of the contemporary form of salegy, a traditional musical style of the northern coastal areas of Madagascar. He grew up surrounded by the music of the tromba spirit possession ceremonies in his community, and in his teens he became influenced by American and African guitarists, inspiring him to begin playing guitar. He began professionally performing guitar with local bands in Ambilobe.
Olombelona Ricky, also known as Ricky, is a Malagasy vocalist and roots musician based in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Launching his musical career in 1991, Ricky recorded his first album in 1998, sparking the phenomenon of "Rickymania". His socio-political messages and uncompromising approach to his career have earned him a strong following among urban youth within Madagascar. He is esteemed as a musical and cultural ethnologist by many of his fellow Malagasy musicians for his effort to capture and reinvent the traditional musical heritage of the island and that of the near-mythical Vazimba people in particular, believed by many Malagasy to be the island's earliest inhabitants. Despite an uncompromising approach to his career which slowed his international exposure, Ricky has performed at numerous international music festivals over the course of his career and regularly tours at home and abroad.
Toto Mwandjani is a Malagasy guitarist and singer who performs the traditional musical genres of tsapiky and salegy infused with Ndombolo music of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mwandjani, who was born in Antsohihy in southern Madagascar, began playing guitar at age eight and formed a band called Les Jeunes Cobras. In 1994 he joined legendary group Feon'ala before becoming a high-demand musician at Studio Mars, the premier professional recording studio on the island. He formed the group Soley, gaining further acclaim for his unique adaptations of traditional musical styles. In the late 1990s after the dissolution of the band, Mwandjani was regularly invited to record and perform with the superstars of salegy, including Jaojoby, Mily Clément and Ninie Doniah. His single Malemilemy elevated him to national stardom. He has recorded two albums and toured extensively in Madagascar and Europe. Mwandjani has twice given concerts to represent Malagasy culture at the annual Days of Madagascar event held at UNESCO in Paris.
Ninie Doniah is a Malagasy singer and composer of salegy music that originates from the northern coastal area of Madagascar, including her birthplace of Nosy Be. She descends from a musical family: her grandmother was a celebrated singer of the traditional jijy vako-drazana antakarana.
Mika sy Davis is a folk-fusion group from Madagascar composed of two male singer-songwriters named Mika and Franklin Davis. They perform a contemporary form of the traditional basesa genre of the island's east coast, blended with rock, soul and reggae. The band has been credited with revitalizing and nationally popularizing the basesa genre.
Samoëla Rasolofoniaina, better known as Samoëla, is a Malagasy vocalist and composer of contemporary folk fusion and roots music that draws upon musical traditions throughout the island of Madagascar. He typically sings and plays acoustic guitar, accompanied by an ensemble including bass guitar, Western and traditional percussion, and backup singers. He is distinguished by his use of hainteny traditional poetry and its metaphorical language, as well as youth slang and culturally subversive direct language to critique and address sensitive social and political topics.
Mahaleo is a folk-pop band from Madagascar that is widely viewed as the most popular Malagasy group of all time. The band was founded by Dama with six of his classmates after first performing together during the rotaka student protests at their high school on 13 May 1972. Mahaleo's lyrics draw upon the indirect language of traditional hainteny and ohabolana to expose contemporary political and social issues and invite listeners to identify their own solutions.
Rabaza is a musical group from Taolagnaro on the southern coast of Madagascar. They perform a blend of traditional musical styles, including kilalaka, tsapiky and mangaliba. The group was founded by R. Christo Benny, who had previously founded and co-led the group Hazolahy from 1998 to 2004. The band seeks to revitalize the musical traditions of the southern region of Anosy and primarily uses local instruments like the hazolahy drum, belamaky, pitiky langay, kasaky and langoro. Both albums enjoyed strong success across the island. The band has toured throughout Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands and has participated in numerous regional music festivals. A song by Rabaza entitled Mifaneva was used in a film "Madagascar: Carnet de Voyage", which was nominated for an Oscar in the category "Best Animated Short Film" in 2011.
AmbondronA is a pop rock from Madagascar. The band has figured prominently in the Malagasy music scene since 2001.
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