South African Music Zine
edited by Sugar
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Tarika - Son Egal
Here's some sparkling and exuberant music from one of Madagascar's most popular roots groups. Not to be confused with the "original" Tarika Sammy who's 'Beneath Southern Skies' album is also available, Tarika are a splinter group led by singer/instrumentalist Rasoanaivo Hanitrarivo who dropped the "Sammy" part of the name and released this album who's title, 'Son Egal', roughly translates as "equal sound". The theme of this album is the role of Senegal in the history of this Indian Ocean island. The Senegalese troops were used to quell a massive Malagasy uprising against their French colonists. This album takes a reconciliatory tone and shows how the merging of Senegalese and Malagasy music created the contemporary sound of Madagascar.
'Son Egal' is a fusion of these dance rhythms, reggae, Jijy (Malagasy rap!) and some pulsating percussion from the Senegalese representatives on this album. Political themes with an infectious dance beat characterise the 13 songs on display here. The lyrics are not in English but the very complete CD booklet explains the intention and history behind each song and provides translations of the words.
While 'Son Egal' could more easily be categorised as "world pop", it is still a fine evocation of traditional Malagasy music and roots. If you are a seeker of above-average African music then Madagascar and specifically this infectious Tarika album is your next port of call.
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman
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