Friday, February 24, 2012

CD Review: Mikea's 'Taholy'


Mikea is Theo Rakotovao from Madagascar. Mikea plays the kabosy, which is a box-shaped, wooden guitar with four to six strings. The kabosy is a more rustic version of an acoustic guitar. Still, the melodies and notes are remarkable. Taholy is inspired by the blues traditions of southern Madagascar. The result is a beautifully-produced album of ear-friendly tunes and tones that possess charm, nostalgia, and island reminiscence. The kabosy is accompanied with bass, percussion, flute, and maracas. Mikea is aided by some back-up vocals on a few tracks. The ambulating rhythms are more traditional than Tarika, but not unlike Rajery. The vocal interplay is reminiscent of South African zulu music. Mikea's voice and guitar interplay are quite similar to Australia's Gurrumul, too. Overall, Mikea soars high above expectations with Taholy. If you are interested in the string and vocal music of contemporary Madagascar society, then look no further. ~ Matthew Forss

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