Often called the Eighth Continent because of its size, the Afro-Asian island of Madagascar has an equally large musical history, traditionally covering African, Asian, Arabian, Indian influences under its broad cultural umbrella. Things seriously began to percolate when Western influences, mainly jazz and blues but rock and reggae as well, were melted into a serious, contemporary musical culture.
Tonight’s musicians are enormously popular in their country, individually achieving god-like status with huge numbers of their fans. What first captures the attention is their technical abilities and their fleet-fingered mastery of their guitars (the instrument was introduced in the 19th Century). Playing with breathtaking virtuosity, this band isn’t at all hesitant to show it all off with happiness and a smile. There’s also a generational thing – older, middle, younger – going on within this masterful trio. Fact is, the three musicians were born in different generations but now are rubbing shoulders together. Jean Claude Teta is from the Tulear province in the South of the country, undisputed grandmaster of the popular tsapiky; Chrysanto Zama also from Tulear is the young prodigy guitarist who combines instrumental virtuosity with the richness of his compositions and Joel Rabesolo, a native from the province of Antsirabe, masters all the styles of the Malagasy guitar. His rich and passionate play reveals «a Hendrixian brilliance» and an affinity for great jazz guitarists like Larry Coryell, John Mc Laughlin, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield. This blockbuster trio released their first cd «Volo Hazo» in 2018, it features 12 tracks, one of which is Duke Ellington’s «Caravan» the way you’ve never heard it played before.
The Malagasy Guitar Masters, live at El Lokal. Best appreciated with a slice of their fabled pineapple and a shot of their toka rum.