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World Music CD Reviews Africa


By Tom Terrell
Published August 1, 2005

10: Beasts, Ghosts & Dancing With History

Every time Rolling Stone magazine drops its annual Women in Rock issue, I search in vain for a profile on Malagasy singer-songwriter Hanitra Rasoanaivo. Ah, the ignorance of xenophobes—they’ll never know that Mlle. Rasoanaivo is a stone cold rocker of the first order. In ’93, Hanitra and her sister Noro left the band Tarika Sammy and recruited jazz/soukous guitarist Ny Ony and their roots-rocking cousins Donne and Solo for their new band. Tarika’s ’94 debut Bibiango struck a righteous chord with audiences at home and abroad. Ten years, three albums later, comes Tarika’s colorfully titled 17-track retrospective. The breakdown: Bibiango, four tracks; ’97’s Son Egal, two tracks and one remix; ’98’s D, three tracks and one remix; Y2K’s Soul Makassar, two remixes, two videos, one unreleased joint and a WOMAD Festival track. Eschewing chronological sequencing for a DJ’s more open-ended flow, Beasts allows Tarika’s mad cool blend of conscious lyrics, soulful vocals and roots rocking swing ‘n’ sway to be fully appreciated.