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Album Review

Fanafody [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

abacus   8/17/2011   12-inch, International

This is a collection of field recordings taken by a Canadian musician on two separate (98-99, 06-07) excursions to Western Madagascar. Most of these recordings come from pretty remote villages along the coast and the tracks reflect that; raw, primitive recordings of musicians (who seem to all be related in some way or another) that sound very disconnected from modern society. Most of the instrumentation is on homemade traditional instruments though there are a couple purely vocal pieces (2,7,11) and a couple with accordion (3,15) reflecting the French colonial influence. Check out the tracks (4,6,9) with the valiha marovany – a sort of box harp with twelve strings individually tuned on each side of the box; also check out the lokanga (1,5,8.13) – a homemade three-string fiddle meant to accompany vocals. Like most of the animals and plants on the island, this music is endemic to Madagascar, isolated and unique.

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