Tarika Sammy, formed in 1980, was one of the first musical groups from Madagascar to bring the Indian Ocean island’s gorgeous indigenous music to the outside world. All these years later—despite personnel changes, setbacks, and hard times in Madagascar—the group lives on, currently as a trio with Sammy on a huge variety of instruments, most of which he makes by hand, and vocals; Bosco on percussion; and Clara on vocals. The trio performed recently in Denmark and Germany, and they are loved in Madagascar.
Despite the country’s troubles, live music does go on. That, of course, is why Afropop is returning there this spring—and why we are now engaged in a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the research trip. Please check out our project video, and support the effort!
Sammy, whose last name is Andriamalalaharijaona—(you can see why these musicians tend to stick with first names)—recorded a truly excellent CD in 2010 with his larger group, Tarika Izy. That CD, Tsara Madagasikara (Network, 2010), easily made Afropop’s top 10 list that year, and it remains the strongest overall recording of Malagasy music I have heard since we visited the country in 2001. Find it and feast on its unending richness.
On that 2001 trip, Sammy was one of the first musicians we met and, right away, he invited us to his rehearsal studio in Antananarivo for an informal jam session with another virtuoso instrumentalist, Johnny. Johnny is most often touted as a bass player, but as you’ll see in this video—excerpts of the Sammy/Johnny Afropop jam—he’s also one hell of a guitar picker. The last segment here is mostly Johnny’s hands. I somehow imagined I might learn to play some of this on guitar by watching this video. Fat chance. If you fare better, let us know.
Also, if you like what you see and hear here, please share this link. Get behind our Kickstarter campaign, and encourage your music-loving friends to do so as well. We are returning this time with more and deeper knowledge and connections, and better video gear. This we can guarantee: what we bring back will blow your mind!