'From the heart of Madagascar's high plateaux: a classic GlobeStyle recording of the leading stylist in the Malagasy flutes/roots tradition'
When our first GlobeStyle records were released, the term 'world music' was still uncreated, and the number of records available from the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar could be counted on the finger of one hand. The releases resulting from our trip to the island in 1985 upped the number of fingers (if not hands). Amazingly, thanks to the (increasing) awareness of world music, and perhaps to our early efforts (want to avoid swollen-heads syndrome here), there are now around 150 CDs of music from Madagascar currently available!
Madagascar is best known for its natural resources and mystery: vanilla, lemurs (as hunted by Sir David Attenborough in his 'Zoo Quest to....' TV series which parked the island in my imagination in the first place), giant birds' eggs, extremely long words, lost pirates. It's the fourth-largest island in the world with a vast range of terrains and climates - and Madagascar's current hot export property - music - reflects this.
Rakoto Frah: FLUTE MASTER OF MADAGASCAR is the third in a series of four GlobeStyle releases of Malagasy music. The gentleman of the title (Mr Rakoto Frah himself) is the leading player of a flute (called sodina - pronounced 'sudden') made, by preference, from cut-up ski-poles (Madagascar is not known for its ski resorts). He plays with his group for the most important ceremonial activities on the island, including the important 'famadihana' ('turning of the dead' ) funeral ceremony. Actually, he has two formations featured here: his flutes & drums combo (a rollicking, flute rattle'n'roll sound for the loud, outdoor needs) and a sweeter, more intimate group, also with his flute and singing, that includes smaller stringed instruments in place of the drums.
This music is part and parcel of everyday life in Madagascar. Luckily, western audiences now have the chance to see groups from Madagascar live-.-including the group Feo Gasy of which Rakoto Frah is a respected superstar member. There are even rumours of a visit by Feo Gasy to UK in autumn 1999. As Rakoto Frah himself says "It has been 64 years exactly that I played sodina ... I'd rather be cherished alive than dead. I never part from the sodina in my pocket."
This CD release is a reissue of the original vinyl LP recorded by us live and direct in Madagascar, with new mastering from original tapes, updated and augmented notes and a bonus track.. We're proud to put this classic release back into the racks.