Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world), as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from India around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population.
Initial human settlement of Madagascar occurred between 350 BCE and 550 CE by Austronesian peoples arriving on outrigger canoes from Borneo. These were joined around 1000 CE by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy ethnic group is often divided into eighteen or more sub-groups of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands. At 592,800 square kilometres (228,900 sq mi), Madagascar is the world's 47th largest country and the fourth-largest island.
As a result of the island's long isolation from neighboring continents, Madagascar is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Approximately 90 percent of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic, including the lemurs (a type of prosimian primate), the carnivorous fossa and many birds. This distinctive ecology has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent", and the island has been classified by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot.
More than 80 percent of Madagascar's 14,883 plant species are found nowhere else in the world, including five plant families. Three-fourths of Madagascar's 860 orchid species are found here alone, as are six of the world's eight baobab species. The island is home to around 170 palm species, three times as many as on all of mainland Africa; 165 of them are endemic. Many native plant species are used as herbal remedies for a variety of afflictions. The drugs vinblastine and vincristine, used to treat Hodgkin's disease, leukemia and other cancers, were derived from the Madagascar periwinkle. The traveler's palm, known locally as ravinala and endemic to the eastern rain forests, is highly iconic of Madagascar and is featured in the national emblem as well as the Air Madagascar logo
Like its flora, Madagascar's fauna is diverse and exhibits a high rate of endemism. Lemurs have been characterized as "Madagascar's flagship mammal species" by Conservation International. In the absence of monkeys and other competitors, these primates have adapted to a wide range of habitats and diversified into numerous species. As of 2012, there were officially 103 species and subspecies of lemur. They are almost all classified as rare, vulnerable, or endangered. At least 17 species of lemur have become extinct since man arrived on Madagascar, all of which were larger than the surviving lemur species. The island is home to two-thirds of the world's chameleon species, including the smallest known, and researchers have proposed that Madagascar may be the origin of all chameleons.
Madagascar's varied fauna and flora are endangered by human activity. Since the arrival of humans around 2,350 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90 percent of its original forest. This forest loss is largely fueled by tavy ("fat"), a traditional slash-and-burn agricultural practice imported to Madagascar by the earliest settlers. Malagasy farmers embrace and perpetuate the practice not only for its practical benefits as an agricultural technique, but for its cultural associations with prosperity, health and venerated ancestral custom (fomba malagasy). As human population density rose on the island, deforestation accelerated beginning around 1400 years ago. By the 16th century, the central highlands had been largely cleared of their original forests. According to a conservative estimate, about 40 percent of the island's original forest cover was lost from the 1950s to 2000, with a thinning of remaining forest areas by 80 percent. In addition to traditional agricultural practice, wildlife conservation is challenged by the illicit harvesting of protected forests, as well as the state-sanctioned harvesting of precious woods within national parks. It is anticipated that all the island's rainforests, excluding those in protected areas and the steepest eastern mountain slopes, will have been deforested by 2025. Ah yes the human locust.. they make music too ....N'joy
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Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, has incredible ethnic diversity and rich history. The Rough Guide To The Music Of Madagascar features music across the broad Malagasy spectrum – from the island’s spicy dance music to the purest music from the highlands. Featuring the valiha (a tubular bamboo zither) and lokanga (three-stringed fiddle), among other instruments specific to the island, this album explores the diverse Malagasy culture that has been influenced by Arab, Persian, Chinese, Indian and European societies over the years.
The music of Madagascar is both exotic and comforting, an interesting amalgam of Eastern and African. The songs are catchy and toe-tapping good fun.
As with most, if not all, of the Rough Guide collections, this one is expertly curated and compiled. The liner notes are a great introduction to the history of Madagascar and the Malagasy people, as well as the development of the Malagasy musical traditions. Madagascar is best known for its unique guitar style: guitar afficionados will consider this collection essential. So should anyone looking for something beyond the same old same old. This will appeal to fans of African, worldbeat, jazz (especially Brazilian jazz styles), and East Asian music. Picking a favorite track on this record is like picking your favorite fork-full when eating a really delicious dessert. Every bite tastes good!
The Rough Guide To The Music Of Madagascar (flac 414mb)
01 Jaojoby - Tsy Zanaka Mpanarivo 4:43
02 Ny Antsaly - Fokafoka 2:10
03 Vakoka - Era 3:47
04 Hazolahy - Ka Mipoerapoera 4:11
05 Toto Mwandjani - Ankitiny 4:42
06 Monja - Gasy Mahay 4:34
07 Tarika - Aloka 4:46
08 Vilon'Androy - Tolombolagne 4:03
09 Mahaleo - Tadidiko Ry Zalahy 5:00
10 D'Gary - Zaza Somondrara 4:15
11 Koezy - Andresy Moramora 4:13
12 Rajery - Mahafinaritra 3:39
13 Teta - Mbola Tiako Anao 3:45
14 Daniel Tombo - Taraka 4:25
15 Ny Sakelidalana - Solofaka 3:23
16 Régis Gizavo - Eka Lahy 3:26
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Gifted with a deep, gutsy voice and a talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and struggles of the people of his homeland, Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi is one of Zimbabwe's greatest artists. Wiki lists 55 albums released by him since 1978 alas hardly any of them available in the West. His blending of Southern African music traditions, including mbira, mbaqanga, jit, and the traditional drumming styles of the Korekore, has created such a unique sound that it has been respectfully dubbed "Tuku music." While Parade referred to Mtukudzi as "one of the few genuine innovators on the Zimbabwean music scene," Prize Beat proclaimed that "his music has been instrumental in strengthening our freedom, socially, politically, and economically." Bonnie Raitt, who has recorded several of his songs, explained, "The juxtaposition of what Mtukudzi sings about and his raw, imploring, vocal reminds me of Otis Redding, Toots Hibbert, and some of my favorite reggae, an odd pairing of agonizing, thorny lyrics over basically lighthearted music." Mtukudzi released his debut single, "Stop After Orange," in 1975. Two years later, he began performing with the Wagon Wheels, a group who featured Thomas Mapfumo. His tenure with the band was short-lived, however. By 1979, he had left to pursue a solo career. Taking several of the band's musicians with him, he formed a new group, the Black Spirits. Their debut single, "Dzandimomotera," sold enough copies to qualify for gold record status.
As a solo artist, Mtukudzi had his first successes shortly after Zimbabwe declared its independence in 1980. His debut solo album, Africa, included two hits: "Zimbabwe" and "Mazongonyedze." Mtukudzi has consistently balanced his musical career with his passion for film and drama. In addition to appearing in several documentaries on Zimbabwean music, including the BBC-produced Under African Skies and The Soul of the Mbira, he starred in Jit, the first film featuring an all-Zimbabwean cast. He also played a prominent role in, as well as composed and arranged the soundtrack for, Zimbabwe's second film, Neria. His work earned him a M'Net award for Best Soundtrack of 1992. Mtukudzi subsequently wrote and directed the musical production Was My Child (Plight of Street Children). With the accompaniment of the Black Spirits or the 12-piece supergroup Mahube, Mtukuduzi continued to tour and record. In February 1994, they spent six weeks performing in Austria and Switzerland. That December, they shared a double bill with Lucky Dube for a concert in South Africa. In 1997, Mtukudzi performed in Holland, Germany, Zimbabwe, and South Africa with Mahube, who are comprised of South African musicians. An album, Mahube, was released in October 1998. Mtukudzi reached his commercial peak with the album Tuku Music, which spent 11 weeks at the top of the CMJ New World Music charts. The album has been released in Zimbabwe on the Zimbabwe Music Corporation label, in South Africa on the Sheer Sound label, in Europe on the Label Bleu label, in the United Kingdom on the Connoisseur Collection label, and in North America on the Putumayo World Music label. Shortly after the album's release, Mutukudzi toured the United States and Canada, along with Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate and Baaba Maal, as part of Africa Fête 1999. A video of Mtukudzi's September 1999 performance in San Francisco was released in February 2000. The album Paivepo reached the top position on Zimbabwe's music charts the first week after its release in November 1999.
The songs on Tuku Music are both exotic and simple ("Tuku" is Mtukudzi's nickname). There's nothing especially unusual about Mtukudzi's instrumentation. For those familiar with Zimbabwean mbira music (mbira is the Shona thumb piano), Tuku's sound shows the influence of this bright, mesmerizing music, particularly in the guitar lines, but this is hardly the only inspiration at work in his music. "Katekwe," the traditional drumming patterns of Tuku's clan, the korekore, can often be heard at the bottom of his music, calling forth the traditional rhythmic soul of Shona music. The south African styles of jit and mbaqaqa have also exerted an influence which is evident in a few songs, but not especially evident in others. Tuku music is really a unique vibe, keyed by the robust yet remarkably gentle vocals of Tuku and the dazzling voices of Mwendi Chibindi and Mary Bell. Mtukudzi's most distinctive American release to date. "Tod!!" and "Mabasa," the songs addressing the AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe, are especially moving and melodically powerful. The liner notes are well done, providing brief comments on the lyrical content of each song.
Oliver Mtukudzi -- Tuku Music (flac 374mb)
01 Dzoka Uyamwe 6:01
02 Tsika Dzedu 6:27
03 Mai Varamba 6:24
04 Ndima Ndapedza 6:26
05 Tapindwa Nei 6:33
06 Todii 6:50
07 Mabasa 7:15
08 Rirongere 5:54
09 Wake Up 6:09
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Mokoomba are a sextuplet hailing from one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls. The group (Mathias Muzaza -lead vocals, Abundance Mutori -bass, Trustworth Samende -lead guitar, Miti Mugande -percussion, Donald Moyo -keyboards and Ndaba Coster Moyo -drums).announced their arrival on the world stage in a rather modest way, first teaming up after church sessions to sing in their local languages. If they were not teaming up after Sunday service, they were beating the drums and strumming the guitars after school, since they grew up in the same neighbourhood in Victoria Falls. Little wonder they are turning out to be another wonder themselves. Victoria Falls is a border town interconnecting five countries — Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Angola — which implies a potpourri of cultures and languages, it is not surprising then that the group is at home singing in any of the languages that you find along the Zambezi basin. So as you listen to the 12 songs on Rising Tide, you will be listening to as many as seven languages, languages as diverse as Nsenga, Mbunda, Luvale, Chokwe, Nyanja, Lingala, and Tonga. Singing in a variety of languages, Mokoomba has been flying the country’s flag high in the world with an Afro-fusion beat that has had the world dancing on the tip of its toes for several months now.
Intrinsically, Mokoomba, which the six-some coolly passes off as a concept, rather than a band, has stridden across to vast expanses of global reach with what many might assume was with little effort and sweat. But the crossing of the river, as the word Mokoomba loosely means, was not without its trials and tribulations. In 2008, Mokoomba won the Music Crossroads Inter-regional festival in Malawi competing with other young bands from Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique which became the launch-pad to their career development. The grand prize was a European tour, an opportunity to record their first six-track album Kweseka (Drifting Ahead) as well as intensive training in music and stage presentation.
Since then, Mokoomba has been growing rapidly, performing at concerts, festivals and cultural exchange workshops. To date, the band has flown the Zimbabwean flag high, taking their music to Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Luxemburg, Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, Norway, South Africa, Germany, Serbia, Hungary, Macedonia, Austria, Russia and Finland.
Mokoomba just returned from an impressive performance at the Moshito Music Conference Showcase in Johannesburg, South Africa, that featured bands from Congo/Belgium (Fredy Massamba), Reunion Islands (Iza and Natalie Natiembé), Senegal (Bouba Kirikou), Spain (Trance Untes), Uganda (Maurice Kirya) and South Africa (HHP and The Brother Moves on).
Mathias Muzaza, the lead vocalist
“We are a concept. We signify the Zambezi River as a vibrant source of life for the Tonga people and our culture, as our provider of food, water and recreation. We were formed in 2008 when we got together to prepare for the Music Crossroads Zimbabwe competitions. We all boys grew up in the same neighbourhood, knowing each other since school days and playing together in church and also for the late great Victoria Falls musician Alfred Mujimba.”
Mokoomba’s music is called afro-fusion, they fuse traditional Tonga stories and rhythms with funk, reggae, Latin touches and pop influence, blended in with a distinctive Mokoomba groove and lyrical content. “Muzaza’s unique vocal talent is another key element. It is unmistakable, it comes from the depth of our spiritual tradition and touches deeply the soul of audiences all over the world. As you know, the town of Victoria Falls is located on the border with Botswana, Namibia and Zambia also very close to Angola. “All the people in this region are raised to understand and speak all of the regional languages and cultures so Mokoomba also brings all these traditions and beauty of the languages and the cultures into their music.”
Mokoomba - Rising Tide (flac 333mb)
01 Njoka 3:43
02 Masangango 5:42
03 Mangongo 3:27
04 Mwile 3:37
05 Misozi 5:13
06 Yombe 3:06
07 Nimukonda 4:28
08 Ndundule 4:53
09 Manunge 4:47
10 Mabemba 2:18
11 Mvula 4:30
12 Welelye 3:27
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