Picks and Pans Review: A World Out of Time

Henry Kaiser & David Lindley

The music of Madagascar is as remote to Western ears as the lush, mountainous island itself, the fourth largest in the world, located off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Last year guitarist Kaiser and multi-instrumentalist Lindley traveled there with German engineers to record with over 40 native musicians.

A World Out of Time, the first of five planned releases from those sessions, offers an 18-track feast of acoustic and electric Malagasy folk, rock and pop, some of which has been embellished with a decidedly American rock and experimental flavor. Participants include Malagasy pop star Rossy, whose electric “roots” music, with its lively dance rhythms, is culled from the island’s six provinces. Tarika Rakoto Frah, 70, is a master of the sodina, or Malagasy flute, which he fashions from ski or aluminum tent poles. His “The Rakoto Frah Two-Step” has a percussive New Orleans parade groove overlaid with Kaiser’s deft picking on an electrified kabosy, a partially fretted hybrid of the mandolin and guitar.

“Madagascar is perhaps our favorite place among the many countries on Earth where we have traveled,” Kaiser and Lindley note in a liner essay. Even from a familiar armchair, listeners will be able to share their enthusiasm. (Shanachie)

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