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Tarika: Son Egal

For many years, the relationship between Madagascar and Senegal was strained, at best, stemming from the French-led attack on the one-time French colony with soldiers from Senegal. But the old wounds are salved on the exuberant album Son Egal, by the group Tarika from Madagascar. Founded in 1994 by the commanding vocalist Hanitra, the group masterfully blends indigenous Malagassy music with modern notions, and in this case, arranges a collaboration with Senegalese musicians. Richly-woven vocals are complemented by rippling kora playing and undulating percussion parts. The tune “Sonegaly” addresses the lingering stigma of anti-Senegalese sentiment among Hanitra’s people, a plea for reconciliation. This is political music with a seductive pulse and surface, a fascinating project.

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