Malagasy Blues Song (World Music Network, 2013)
Malagasy Blues SongSong is the new release by Lala Njava, one of the most unique vocalists of Madagascar. Her unmistakable deep voice indeed has a blues feel. Her music and arrangements, however, are distinctly Malagasy.
Although this is Lala Njava’s first solo album, she has been performing for years and is best known for her work in her family band Njava, a group that moved to Europe and had two international releases with EMI, including Vetse (EMI/Blue Note Records).
Unfortunately, the album’s notes do not include the musicians who played on the album, aside from Lala Njava and famed accordionist Régis Gizavo. It looks like guitarist Dozzy Njava also participated with his valiha influenced guitar style.
One of the songs featured on Malagasy Blues Song will be familiar to Deep Forest fans. ‘Sweet Lullaby’ is a re-recording of the song that Lala performed live with Deep Forest many times during this stage of her career. The new version is intimate and acoustic, without the electronic and pop elements that the 1990s version had.
Lala Njava is concerned with the deforestation of her country and supports the Graine de vie ecological charity and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded by the King Baudouin Foundation to counterbalance the ecological footprint of industrialized countries by planting trees in developing countries. The charity set up its first project in the Eastern Region of Madagascar. As well as concentrating on tree plantation, the project works with local communities to provide jobs and education in environmental protection. Presently, Graine de vie has 28 plantations located across the Eastern Cap of Madagascar, and has planted over a million trees on the island.
Malagasy Blues Song is a splendid album by one of the stars of Malagasy roots music.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.