Jaojoby

Malagasy

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AllMusic Review by

America is finally catching up with Jaojoby, it seems. The foremost practitioners of the Malagasy style known as salegy, with its distinctive 6/8 tempo and danceable melodies, have shown wonderful chops under their singer-leader, but none of their excellent studio albums stand as real preparation for this live set. It's fierce, a straight-out attack from the speakers that never lags. After working so long together they function like a machine, with the bassist leading everything, while the voices ride the wave, and everything else emerges in small, stunning clusters, like the wild lead guitar that emerges like a war whoop periodically, fighting against the accordion, or the short horn interjections. Given that their live shows last for up to five hours, you have to wonder how they can keep the pace going, since it's exhausting enough to simply listen to this record. But there are plenty of joys, like the way they can lock into a rhythm and keep it going -- not unlike James Brown and his bands, really -- until it takes on an almost hypnotic effect. Being Malagasy, the music is comprised of several layers of influences, from the varying musics of the Pacific to the guitar sounds of East Africa, stirred up with generations of tradition from Madagascar itself. However, that's part of the pleasure in hearing it, the way everything comes together in a new harmony, and with so much energy it's scary

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