Possibly best known for its high-grade vanilla and mysterious Zoo-Quest lemurs, Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, has a rich, complex and diverse culture: Indonesian, Indian, Persian - and Welsh - as well as African ingredients all play their part. The island's music reflects this diversity, and Malagasy music has never before been so available on CD as it is in today's record racks. The current discography runs to fifty-five titles (increasing weekly) and the music is becoming one of the mainstays of the world music buying and touring scene.GlobeStyle can be said to have blazed a trail: we visited Madagascar is 1985 for our first field-recording trip and many of the artists recorded by us on that expedition are now established concert and recording acts. Two compilation CDs from our visit are always in catalogue: CDORBD 012 "Madagasikara 1 - Current Traditional Music"/CDORBD 013 "Madagasikara 2 - Current Popular Music". For first time Malagasy music investigators, these are an essential place to start. During this trip we heard about a legendary musician: Rakotozafy. He played a souped-up, enlarged version of the island's national instrument the valiha (a multi-stringed box-shaped zither also known as the marovany). This hot-rodding increased the range and sound of the instrument and gave him a sound not unlike a bluesman's national steel guitar. He had previously recorded for ethnomusicologists, the local record company (DiscoMad) and the national radio-.-musicians revered him, but when it came to pinning his story down, there was never the same story twice. Hence his status as a true legend.Born and died (maybe even visited Wales - we're still trying to find out more about this, Welsh readers). Said to have been a hard taskmaster who (accidentally, irascibly) killed his son on stage during a show because the kid didn't play the maraccas correctly, and then died of grief in jail. Or maybe he went on terminal hunger-strike. Or maybe the kid was killed by a snapping string, then remorse, death, etc. Or. Or. The more you ask, the more stories come out. I suppose this is one function of legends: they are story-magnets, they attract great tales on principle.The GlobeStyle CD CDORBD 028 "Madagasikara 4: Rakotozafy - Valiha Malaza" is a collection of recordings made in the 1960s in Madagascar for DiscoMad, some of which were originally issued in Madagascar on single and EP 45s, some of which (five tracks) are issued here for the first time ever. This compilation updates the earlier GlobeStyle vinyl version with more titles and a return to the original analogue tapes for sparkling re-mastering. You can hear all of the nuances of the valiha and singer, driven by the maraccas-playing (of his ill fated son?). For Madagascar fiends, there is even a bonus track of Rakotozafy himself giving a traditional 'thank-you-for-having-us' speech. Completing the package are the usual full GlobeStyle sleevenotes and song translations.