Martin Sinnock, Songlines, March 2018
Three-ponged guitar attack from top Malagasy trio
Three guitarists frim three different generations, all from Madagascar, have produced an album that could quite easily sit on an exemplary guitar specialist record label such as Kicking Mule (« where guitar is king ») or Takoma.
Jean-Claude Teta is a master of the lively tsapiky styke, popular in the city of Tulear in the south of the country. He is also influenced by jazz, blues and Jumi Hendrix.
Chrysanto Zama is a specialist of rodaringa (music that accompanies wrestling) and tsinjabey funeral music, while Joel Rabesolo plays all of the Malagasy styles as weel as having a deep interest in jazz.
Throughout this album’s doeen (mostly instrumental) tracks there are predominantly two acoutic guitars taking the leas, with youngster Joel Rabelo’s electric guitar adding some contemporary flavours. The compsitions are mostly based on Malagasy tradition but the playing and interpretation lends itself to jazz, blues and Western guitar styles – one interesting variation of the Duke Ellinton’s standard « Caravan ».
All in all, this is a wonderfully musical and highly enjoyable amalgation of Malagasy and Western guitar styles, played by three masters of their instruments.
Vic Smith, fRoots, March 2018
Three very talented guitarists of different generations from an island noted for the high quality of playing of traditional and modern string instruments combine their skills and great technical abilities to provide an enjoyable album that shows a wide range of influences.
The three are Teta Jean Claude, Chryzanto and Joël Rabesolo. The repertoire here is very varied, sometimes looking back at those who have preceded them in the music of Madagascar , particularly the great valiha master Rakotozaky. Most of the tracks are presented as recognisably in their local rhythms but this is overlaid with a wide variety of outside influences, particularly jazz. In the most curious track, we hear the Duke Ellington classic, Caravan, played in a style and rhythm from the south of the island. It takes quite a number of listenings to realise the complexity of what they have achieved. Elsewhere it seems that they havebeen listening to a range of jazz guitarists from Charlie Christian to Barney Kessel.
It is difficult to know which guitarist makes which contribution but in the photo it is only the youngest one, Joël, who is holding an electric guitar so we must assume that he brings all the effects such as a sustain unit and wah-wah pedal to the mix although he quotes the pianist Keith Jarrett as a major influence.
Mainly an instrumental album, there are a few tracks that include vocals which serve as a reminder that we are firmly in Madagascar. Recorded on the island at Toiler but mixed and mastered in France, those involved in the technical side of the album deserve praise for the high quality of the way they have presented these excellent musicians.