Malagasy Music of Madagascar

mlgsyIf you get the opportunity, listen of Malagasy, the music of Madagascar.

I’ve often found that your cultural experience of a country can be enhanced by listening to the local music.

Of course, each country has its traditional music, song and tunes that are played on indigenous instruments which have deep, often spiritual, meanings for the local people.

These days, of course, traditional music is often fused with contemporary instruments and modern amplification and recording techniques to revolutionise traditional sounds.

Madagascar a musical country

One country which enjoys a large variety of traditional music, and which has also embraced contemporary techniques is Madagascar, and island nation in the Indian Ocean, east of the African continent.

Being an island nation, which has quite unique flora and fauna due to its isolation, the music of Madagascar has been highly influenced from many countries including Southeast Asia, Arabia, England, France, and Africa. The music of Madagascar is commonly referred to as Malagasy.

Traditional Malagasy music is known to be very melodic, creating different styles than those in nearby Africa.

Regional music in Madagascar

Each region of Madagascar contains different instrumental and musical styles. Major keys and diatonic scales are usually traditionally used but again changes among the regions. In addition, the locals of Madagascar consider music to be very spiritual and social events.

Madagascar’s unique geography and location are pivotal factors in understanding the stylistic portion of their music. The fact that it is located off the coast of Africa gives way to the belief that the people who ventured and dared to explore this uninhabited land were the ancestors of the culture that grew there. The arrival of people and the variety of inhabitants gave way to the distinctly noticeable variety to all the music you can find there today. To the people of Madagascar music is somewhere to look for hope and promise; it allows them to find inspiration in their daily lives.

The music of Madagascar includes the most distinctive musical genres of the whole African continent, since they are a result of the successive cross-breeding of four different cultures: the endemic Austronesian culture, the immigrant East African culture and the colonist Arab and West European cultures. In consequence, Malagasy music is very different from the rest of African regional music.
My personal favourite exponents of contemporary Malagasy music is the band Tarika.  Their fabulous sound retains the basic melodic aspects of Malagasy traditional folk music but they introduce a beat that is both invigorating and exciting as they express the true joy of the music of Madagascar.

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