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SOAS Archive Show: Rakotozafy (Madagascar)

Valiha Malaza – Famous Valiha. Rakotzafy. Productions Sunset-France. Compiled: Ace Records Ltd. 1988. Issued: GlobeStyle Records, London. ORBD 028 – Record 4/4: Madagasikara 4.

The show features the LP Valiha Malaza – Famous Valiha by the legendary Malagasy musician Rakotzafy. This LP was released in 1988 by GlobeStyle Records. The album features songs, dances and instrumental music played on an instrument called a Valiha which is a box-shaped Zither. The show is presented by Rachel Jackson.

Side 1

Track 1. Salama’narep Tompoko O! (Avy Izahay Vahiny). 2.44 – A greeting to wish good health. This song was composed just after Independence as a response to the President’s campaign to create a new national way of greeting people.

Track 2. Ramanjareo (Ny Any Aminay). 2.43 – This song explores the theme of ‘Home, Sweet Home’. The accompanying dance is characterized by the very heavy rhythms made by the dancers’ feet.

Track 3. O Zaza Ny Fandeha Diasa. 3.20. – The meaning of the title translates as ‘You kids, pay attention when you walk about’.

Track 4. Botofetsy. 3.00 – A song about a naughty little boy. The singer wants to hit the boy but refrains because despite his youth, he is still a ‘monsieur’.

Track 5. Tongo Teto Lala. 3.00 – A song about a flirtatious lover.

Track 6. Hitako O! 4.00 – The title is an exclamation made when playing hide and seek: ‘I’ve found you!’ On this track a conversation is heard between Rakotzafy and his son, who is playing maracas.

Track 7. Mandrosoa Lahy Mahaeva. 3.55 – The singer impels a guest to enter his house.

Side 2

Track 1. Isa, Roa, Telo. 3.05 – The lyrics mean, ‘Step out of the way! There! 1, 2, 3, hey kaiamba! (rattle). There! Oh dear! OK, I’m here . . . and I’m still hungry and I can’t sing like I want to. 1, 2, 3, hmmm . . .’

Track 2. Rey Lahy, Rey Lahy. 3.00 – The lyrics of this song probably include quotes from ceremonial songs of circumcision.

Track 3. Varavarankely. 3.00 – ‘Come forward! There’s wind at the window’.

Track 4. Sega Vaovao Valiha Malaza. 3.10 – A new sega composed by Rakotzafy. A sega is a popular Indian Ocean dance.

Track 5. Mandihiza Raha Manan’ Elatra. 2.59 – ‘Dance as if you had wings – dance because you have wings . . . dance, dance so that we can watch you’.

Track 6. Iadavan-Janakao Aho Rafozako. 3.06 – This is one of Rakotzafy’s most popular songs. The lyrics translate as, ‘Oh, mother-in-law, your daughter is hitting me! She hits me, she hits me. If you are bad, you must hit her yourself!’

Track 7. Ny Fitavana Raha Vao Miaraka. 2.40 –An instrument version of a song played in the 1930s ‘BaGasy’ (‘malagasy style’) fashion. The title translates as, ‘Love is like two rivers that flow into one’.

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