Madagascar, another Tulear market mix

David Lindley and Henry Kaiser's first compilation of Malagasy recordings was released during my first year of university.  The campus radio station was the center of my social life and I spent most of my weekend nights listening through the station's massive music library.  This compilation was one of the first to make it into regular rotation on my weekly radio program.  Along with Eric Dolphy, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Kip Hanrahan, and Astor Piazzolla, the Malagasy guitarist D'Gary was one of the artists I discovered that year and that I have listened to ever since.  Ten years later, this fantastic Stern's compilation introduced me to Tsapiky music, the guitar-driven sound of the Tulear region.  I listened to this compilation even more than to 'A World Out of Time'.

In the early 2000s, I found someone in Madagascar who was willing to hunt down some cassettes for me.  I Western Unioned him $400, with the stipulation that he only purchase cassettes by artists unknown outside of Madagascar.  I eagerly anticipated receiving a crate full of cassettes of blistering guitar music.  Five months later, a yellow cardboard box holding 60 cassettes arrived from Antananarivo.  The cassettes represented the diversity of Malagasy music.  Unfortunately, I found most of the cassettes tepid and disappointing.  The cabaret singers crooning syrupy romantic Malagasy ballads didn't move me.  The staid catholic choirs bored me.  The heavy metal cassettes were amusing but didn't get me excited.  The promising looking Valiha cassettes sounded like muzak.  Luckily, there were a few treasures (like this great Hira Gasy cassette) buried in the box.

 Over the last fifteen years, however, with the creation of YouTube and music-sharing blogs, it has become a lot easier to find interesting Malagasy music.  [There have also been some more terrific CD releases].  Our comrade Lola has shared some wonderful recordings. The regretted Aduna Blog posted an enjoyable mix of Tulear songs several years ago.  Brian at Awesome Tapes from Africa has shared several great Malagasy cassettes and Afropop worldwide have done several interesting programs on Malagasy music.

Today's post features a compilation of Tulear groups playing stripped-down Tsapiky.  Most of the groups are small ensembles, consisting of drums, guitar, and bass.  Some of the tracks have vocals, most are rambling instrumentals.  These tracks sound more like live recordings than studio arrangements.  I don't know anything about these artists and our worldwide web hasn't been any help.  This is the sound I have been wanting to hear for years now.

Download Roots Tsapiky

 Rekidodo D'Ampinahy - Midodo Rongo Tsiapiky Tulear

Here is a lovely video of one of the songs on the compilation.

A special thank you to Mr. Stan who patiently waited for me while I nosed around the markets of Antananarivo. 




  1. I loved Aduna's market mix. Wondering if yours will meet those high standards. Keep up sharing music from wonderful musicians only locally known

  2. great sounds amazing and thanks for pointing us to more at other blogs


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