Hanitra: Lasa, Songs From Madagascar (ARC Music)

 |   |  1 min read

Avia
Hanitra: Lasa, Songs From Madagascar (ARC Music)

Let's just go out a very thin branch now and say this: If Hanitra Ranaivo sang in English she might just be one of those Next Big Thing artists at the intersection of folk, pop and world music.

From the highland city of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar – the cultural centre of the island – she melds tradition with contemporary issues (deforestation, the political relationship between her homeland and nearby Reunion where she has also lived, same sex relationships, spousal abuse) and the album is dedicated to women.

She sings in the local Malagasy language (only Miroir is in French) but her voice – which glides over and between the backings of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums, the Afghanistan stringed instrument rubab, sitar and percussion – carries the listener by virtue of its purity, passion and clarity.

She also reveals a strident power when required (Mivalvo about the rapacious destruction of Madagascar's forests) but its when she sings more intimately (Myriam about the “forbidden” love) that this is at its most affecting.

Not everything here works – the title track becomes highly repetitive, a tendency she also has on Emancipation – but when she bounces off the springheel African rhythms or the gentle folk-rock settings you feel you are in the presence of a mature and thoughtful musician in command of her art.

Now in her 50s, she has a small catalogue of albums behind her, has performed at festivals in Europe, Australia and India, and is now on the creditable ARC Music label out of LOndon which should ensure her greater exposure.

She deserves it on the many strengths of Lasa which is at that interesting intersection of styles.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

GLOBAL RADIO: A round-up of recent world music releases

GLOBAL RADIO: A round-up of recent world music releases

Because Elsewhere is one of the few mainstream websites which has no problem writing about world music in the same space as pop, rock, jazz, reggae and whatever, we have been increasingly inundated... > Read more

Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

Although this remarkable London-raised woman from West Africa is acknowledged as a rare female kora player from her griot family (Toumani Diabate is a cousin), she is also a strong advocate and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Ray Columbus seldom rang me at the Herald unless he had something to say. I liked him for that, he wasn't a time waster. But once he called and said he had an American friend in town that I might... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . MARNI NIXON: The voice of the famous faces

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . MARNI NIXON: The voice of the famous faces

When the American singer Marni Nixon died in July 2016, her passing was barely noted in the music press. Major newspapers like the New York Times weighed in with obituaries, but the silence from... > Read more