Madagascar Network

Tonga Soa!



A group for people who love music from Madagascar and the surrounding islands.

Members: 6
Latest Activity: Mar 22, 2009

Featured Music Video: Alima by Jaojoby, posted by Dany

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Comment by ♥Dany♥ on September 15, 2008 at 1:04pm
Bonne idée . Madagascar est une locomotive en matière de musique indianocéanique. Du nord au sud qui a pu recenser la variété de genres musicaux qui existent ?

salegy, malesa, pecto, sova, tokatoka, vakysova, bawejy, hira gasy, batrelaky, kilalaky, horija, kalitaky, jihehy, kidodo, kolondoy,....
Comment by ♥Dany♥ on September 22, 2008 at 12:02pm
Jaojoby "mangala vaiavy" (style : malesa)

Jaojoby is a pioneer and a giant of Madagascar's salegy style, lively, guitar-driven 12/8 music originally from the island's northeast coast. At his home in the Ambohipo neighborhood of Antananarivo Eusèbe Jaojoby told Afropop Worldwide his story in the spring of 2001.

"I am the first boy of several members in my family," he began. "My parents are Christian, so I began to sing in church in the village in Ambohingebe, where I was born. It's in the northeast of this country, near Sambava--orchids, coffee--it's green there. I sang in church and in the village too, during moonlight feasts. In church, we do songs for praying to God. In the village we make folk songs, Malagasy folk songs."

Those folk songs, many of them linked to the traditions of particular local ethnic groups, became a crucial ingredient in the development of salegy. But as in the birth sagas of so many 20th century roots pop styles, pioneering musicians also needed to get an education in foreign music. Jaojoby says, "In 1970, when I was fifteen, I went to the north of Madagascar to Diego Suarez (Antsiranana). It's a port, and at that time, French soldiers were still in place there. I went there for my studies, but at the same time, I began to sing for the first time with a microphone. Two years later, in 1972, I can say a great band of the town took me with them and I began to play in nightclubs. During the day, I went to school, and in the night, I sang soul music and rhythm and blues: Percy Sledge, Otis Redding, James Brown, and the others. As customers, we had French soldiers and Malagasy people also. We played rhythms from all over the world--slow, cha-cha-cha, jerk, valse passo, tango, bolero--and we began to introduce the salegy."

Jaojoby told us that established local bands, such as Orchestre Liberty, had been playing band arrangements using the salegy rhythm since the 1960s, but that these were typically instrumental numbers. In the 1970s, nightclub groups like the one Jaojoby sang with began to sing salegy versions of local folk songs, creating the prototypes of a new musical genre. Most of these bands used electric guitars. Some used accordions. In 1975, Jaojoby joined a group called Players. "We went anywhere people called us," Jaojoby recalled, "in town, in village, in the field, in markets, on the ground, in open air. We used an energy generator. We made more African and Malagasy rhythms: kwassa-kwassa, sigoma, and also rhythms from the Indian Ocean, like sega. We played most of the African rhythms, but we made them Malagasy."

Players recorded some singles during the late '70s, but in 1980, Jaojoby moved to Tana to pursue his studies and begin a career as a journalist with the national radio station. For most of the 1980s, he sang music with his band on the side, but it was more a recreational activity than a career. In 1988, all that changed when Jaojoby scored a national hit with the song, "Samy Mandeha Samy Mitady," ("Each one looks for their own good"). "Then," he told us, "I became a star in the whole country. Before, it was only in the north."

This song, and the album it came from--Salegy!--opened doors internationally as well after it was released by Rogue Records in the UK in 1992. Jaojoby played his first Paris shows in 1989. In 1994, Jaojoby joined forces with Indigo Records and began recording in France. Aza Arianao, released in 2001, was a milestone, easily the best of Jaojoby's four albums to that point, and one of the most beguiling electric pop albums any Malagasy act has yet recorded. The compositions, arrangements, pacing, and execution are exquisite throughout, from salegy smokers like "Somaiko Somainao" and "Tokony Atantsika" to a rousing adaptation of a 4/4 Malgasy folk song, "Somainao," and a sweet remake of Jaojoby's early hit, "Alima," shot through with tasty Congo style guitar and kwela-style pennywhistles from South Africa.

"Alima" and the title track start off in the slow 12/8 rhythm called malesa. "Malesa is a sister of the salegy, you know," Jaojoby told us. "But it is slower. Malesa is love salegy. Even the way of dancing it: you put the woman in front of you, and you in her back, and then you move. You dance. Yeah, yeah! Malesa players like to sing about love, about women, about joy."

The guitar work on Aza Arianao is exquisite. Jaojoby's lead guitarist, Laurent Randrianambinina, was traveling during our visit, but Lucas Jaojoby--the 18-year old I had spotted with his father at the airport--did an excellent job of filling in on stage. Lucas plays lead guitar in Jaojoby Jr, a band of Jaojoby's kids that covers their father's famous repertoire and creates original material as well. "It's a family business," joked the proud father. I asked Lucas to show me some salegy guitar, and he obliged, demonstrating finger-style malesa and salegy accompaniments, and riffs in the style of the valiha and marovany, Malagasy traditional instruments. "For the salegy," Lucas said candidly, "there isn't a real solo style. The basis of the solo comes from the Congolese and the Ivoirians." In 2004, shortly before Jaojoby was set to begin their first US tour, the band completed a new album, just called Malagasy.

Contributed by: Banning Eyre


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