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Performance – 30 June 2007
Madagascar All Stars with Regis Gizavo, Justin Vali, Erick Manana & Fenoamby.
The French brought the accordion to the East African island of Madagascar over two centuries ago and, predictably, it soon became intertwined with the fascinatingly diverse indigenous musical culture of the Great Island. Owing to various factors like poverty and globalisation, the Malagasy accordion player is now becoming a rarity, just like many other beautiful and unique native species on the island. Nevertheless the breed is alive and well for the time being in the shape of the virtuoso accordionist Regis Gizavo who has been proselytising both his instrument and his islands music around Europe for many decades. Regis became a household name in France thanks to his association with the hugely popular Corsican group I Muvrini and he has performed with musicians of every hue; jazz, Arabic, African and pop. It is in solo mode, in cahoots with the percussionist David Mirandon, that Regis is allowed to really blossom and shine. Regis can spin a melody on his huge chromatic accordion with the deft skill of a seasoned virtuoso, throwing in veiled references to Cajun, township jazz and French variété with unflappable ease whilst dedicating the main bulk of his output to the musical riches of Madagascar. His two solo albums on the French label Indigo, Mikéa and Samy Olombélo give a superb taste of the mans boundless talent. Dazzling music from a dazzling island.