Friday, December 16, 2011

CD Review: Simangavole from Reunion Island

Maloya Manier Fanm
Maron Productions

The music of Reunion Island is relatively underrepresented in today's world music industry. Thankfully, Simangavole is here to change all that. Located east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, the island boasts a range of highly-percussive and vocal music traditions. Simangavole sing Creole songs and include a host of traditional percussion instruments with lively, upbeat rhythms. The female vocals border on the voice of Benin's Angelique Kidjo, but with a little less intensity and softer vocal range. At any rate, the chorus of singers and percussion set is vibrant, Sufi-like music with Afro-pop vocal patterns, but with a more limited melodic range. The music is quite similar to the music of kirtan in an Afro-Indian sort of way. The songs are rather short in length, and the whole album comes in under 40 minutes. Still, the music of Reunion is unique, refreshing, and worth the listen. Buy it today. ~ Matthew Forss 

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