Vakoka / Introducing Vakoka
Album: Introducing Vakoka   Collection:World
Artist:Vakoka   Added:May 2004
Label:World Music Network  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2004-07-05 Pull Date: 2004-09-06 Charts: Reggae/World
Week Ending: Sep 5 Aug 29 Aug 1 Jul 25 Jul 18 Jul 11
Airplays: 2 1 2 2 1 2

Recent Airplay
1. Sep 29, 2004: Civil Society
Faly Sy Ravo
4. Aug 26, 2004: the dog and pony show
2. Sep 02, 2004: Sun in Libra Moon in Pisces
5. Jul 30, 2004: No Cover, No Minimum
3. Aug 31, 2004: At the Cafe Bohemian
Faly Sy Ravo
6. Jul 29, 2004: Sun in Libra, Moon in Pisces

Album Review
Reviewed 2004-06-15
Excellent mix of South African vocal styles and other East African sounds by this ensemble of Malagasy (from Madagascar) musicians. The music is uniformly gentle and sweet and played with restraint. The liner notes tell us that Malagasy music has many influences, given the people from several continents that have settled the island off the eastern coast of Africa. Performances of native music on the island are rare and recordings are rarer still, owing to the tendency of the populace to prefer pop and cheesy synthed-and-drum-machined faux-music. This project is special because leading native musicians and composers were brought together for the express purpose of making this recording, whose intended market is apparently not the Malagasy people. One of the drivers and musicians and composers is a member of Tarika, the only other Malagasy musical group you’re likely to have heard of. I so love this album’s strangeness, happiness, and “wha?” provenance!

1. Lively tune that was apparently the genesis of this project; it’s easy to say why optimism was the result
2. Restrained, jazzy groove
3. Mellow and skittery; evocative maybe of lazy days on an island beach or in the nearby bar
4. Drums and flutes that bizarrely bring to mind American colonial times
5. Gruff vocals and surly accordion give way to a rapid guitar trilling and an elaborate rhythmic rap
6. Light percussion, delicate acoustic guitar, and a tender melody reminiscent of Baden Powell’s finest work
7. Guitar lays back, drums are wild but relatively quiet, vocals are joyously all over the place
8. Scratchy male vocals alternate with sweetness-and-light female chorus; tinky guitar and sax are brilliant embellishments
9. Downbeat but exotically gorgeous violin-and-vocal tune with some jungle sounds
10. Very South African in its massed unison vocals and joyous melody
11. Why does this sound like some distant cousin of hillbilly music? Is it the sparse and charmingly underproduced arrangement? The semi-yodeled vocals? The fiddle? Regardless, it’s great.
12. Another South African-style romp, now with a horn section

Track Listing
1. Salama   7. Maromaso
2. Era   8. Manigne
3. Vorondolo   9. Vorombazaha
4. Lazao   10. Aomby Mazava Loha
5. Dame Ihaova   11. Tokalava
6. Faly Sy Ravo   12. Hiran'ny Gasy