Indian Ocean Hybrids

Various Artists

Musiques Metisses – Océan Indien (Marabi 46816, 2006)

This compilation takes a look at the cross-cultural sounds coming out of several islands in the Indian Ocean. As a territory located between Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and colonized by France, the musical influences are rich and varied.

Musiques Metisses – Océan Indien begins with a powerful piece by Menwar, from Maurice. The band features featuring a fiery percussion section, choruses and funky electric guitar. The French colony of Reunion Island is represented by Nathalie Natiembé, who combines local folk with accordion-driven French chanson.

Régis Gizavo is a master of chromatic accordion from Madagascar, who uses electric guitars, bass and drums as accompaniment achieving a sound somewhat similar to Cajun music.

Another French colony, Mayotte, is represented by Mikidache. This time, the African influence seems more prevalent, with guitar-accordion driven pop. Meanwhile, Maalesh, from the Comores, sounds similar to popular Malagasy bands, with inspired vocals.

Rajery, from Madagascar, is well known in Europe and North America. The group combines his guitar virtuosity with warm and mellow vocals.

Continuing with Madagascar, Nainako presents an acoustic guitar, using percussion and acoustic guitars. Reunion Island’s Salem Tradition uses vocals accompanied exclusively soft percussion and something that resembles a berimbau.

The accordions return with another Reunion Island artist, René Lacaille. It is perhaps the song that has stronger French influences, using French vocals accompanied by accordion and percussion.

For the first time in the album, flutes are used in a pastoral piece by Malagasy band Feo-Gasy, which uses vocals, flute and acoustic guitars.

Another well known artist from Madagascar is virtuoso guitarist , who also sings and uses accordion accompaniment.

Jaojoby, also from Madagascar, has one of the best cuts in the CD, with dual electric guitars, past paced percussion and great vocals.

Grammoun Lélé has the most tribal sound of all the artists representing Reunion Island, with ritualistic percussion and drums, chanting and lead vocals.

Jean Emilien, from Madagascar, is known a human orchestra. He uses guitars, harmonica and percussion.

The sound of Reunion Island’s Danyel Waro is primarily vocal, with lead vocal and choruses accompanied by shakers and light drumming.

returns with a piece that combines his amazing guitar technique with the vocals and percussion of Rataza.

The CD ends with veteran crooner Dama joining Jaojoby in a bluesy piece with harmonica, acoustic guitars and percussion.

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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 and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (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.