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The third album of Mikea, hailing from Madagascar, is a personal vision on the relation between tradition and modernity. With the singing based on authentic local beko-blues, the playing and songwriting are much more modern. An intimate album, showing a cliché-free image of Madagascar. Zebus in their hundreds watched over by boys barely ten years old; a dry, thorny forest in southwest Madagascar, in which singing is the only way to locate others and not get lost yourself. When Théo Rakotovao performs outside Madagascar, he likes to tell such stories of his childhood, stories of the Mikea people he belongs to and for whom, having named his group after them, he is the standard bearer. It's a role he takes seriously on a musical level too, a personal vision of the relation between tradition and modernity resulting from a time-honoured artistic journey. The singing may be rooted in the authentic beko-blues of the Mikea people, but the playing and songwriting (all songs are written by Théo) look further afield, their arrangements and melodies universal. All come together in 'Hazolava' ('Help'), the song that gives its name to this new Mikea album. Some of the musicians in the band have flirted with jazz-rock, and Théo himself started out in a vein closer to local pop before realising it wasn't the path he wanted to follow. Mikea recorded their third album in their studio in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. 'Handea Aho' ('I'm leaving'), brought back from a 16-date 11-country tour of West Africa in 2009, sits side by side with 'Cafrik', co-written in French and Malagasy with an author from Reunion Island, and a few songs that first appeared on 2006's Longo, only released locally. And then there's the 100% Malagasy version of 'Hey Joe' - when he first heard Jimi Hendrix sing this timeless hit, Théo thought he was one of his uncles in the village. But above all, Hazalova draws its inspiration from the concerns of the people and the crisis their country is going through. "It's a call for help," Théo explains, determined to show a cliché-free image of Madagascar. And he certainly succeeds in doing so: Hazolava is an intimate album, with a focus on songwriting, rather than radiating the exuberance of other Malagasy albums. Mikea were finalists in the Prix Musiques de l'Océan Indien in 2007 and prizewinners in the Découvertes RFI the following year.


  1. Name
  2. Hey Joe
  3. Nahazovaly (Find Love)
  4. Fitadiava (Labour)
  5. Cafrik
  6. Vinanto Mamy (A Respectful Son-in-law)
  7. Hazolava (Help)
  8. Mba Nagnino (Why?)
  9. Handea Aho (I'm Leaving)
  10. Fety (Party)
  11. Longo (Companion)
  12. Many (Nostalgia)
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