Son Egal

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Politically, Madagascar has seen more than its share of unrest and instability in the 20th century. So if you're going to write angry political protest songs, Madagascar is an appropriate place to do it. Searing political commentary has often defined Tarika, an excellent Malagasy band that has enjoyed considerable popularity in the world of African pop. Like other Tarika efforts, Son Egal has a strong sociopolitical bent; but whether or not one understands the lyrics (most of which aren't in English), it's clear that Tarika is a melodic powerhouse. You may not understand the lyrics to "Vavaka," "Raha Tiany" or "Sento," but there's no missing how captivating the melodies are, or how much feeling Tarika singer Hanitra puts into her vocals. Green Linnet/Xenophile deserves a round of applause for the CD's comprehensive liner notes; Tarika's political views and the lyrics of all of the songs are given a close and thorough examination.

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