Wa-Zimba - Mande Wazy
Tinder Records (www.tinderrecords.com)
There's plenty of music from Madagascar available, so now the way has been paved for artists wanting to tap into some of those riches and expand upon them. Enter Wa-Zimba, a French/Malagasy trio named for Madagascar's original inhabitants. Traditional music is their starting point, and the fact that their sound is rooted in it is never forsaken by the threesome or their additional singers and players. It's a sound that's mostly acoustic, in which characteristic instruments like the sodina flute are present along with unobtrusive and graceful additions like melodica, mandolin and dobro. Structurally, things go for an Afropop sound, often with great woody-sounding percussion and twangy accents both adorning and distinguishing songs that bassist/singer Julio Rakotonanahary voices richly in the Malagache language. Brightly engaging and pleasing from start to finish, Mande Wazy has hints of mainland Africa, the Caribbean, jazz fusion and Iberian influences, none of which override the Malagasy core. Recommended if you love the music of Madagascar and don't mind just a bit of a twist. - Tom Orr
Available from cdroots.com
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