Berikely & Zama’s debut release is a love letter to Malagasy music

Malagasy music star Berikely
Malagasy music star and frontman Berikely (Photo: Luc Paris)

TUNE OF THE WEEK: MOLY E (Berikely & ZAMA)

(Abrazik / InOuie Distribution, 2022)

Berikely & Zama is the exciting new 5-piece band intertwining the music of Madagascar and France. Released at the start of this month, their debut album Elaela is an explosion of colour. The 10-track album is rooted in traditional Malagasy rhythms and melodies, with the added flavour of Western jazz. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Frédéric Matteu (La Rue Ketanou), the songs draw inspiration from Madagascar’s popular music, including salegy, tsinjaka or banaiky.

At the centre of the musical project is Berikely, the Malagasy multi-instrumentalist renowned for his mastery the kabosy guitar, an instrument ingrained in the culture of Madagascar. It’s the kabosy and his undeniable love for this instrument that provide the common threads tying the album together.

The album is preceded by the joyful single Elaela, but the real hidden gem of the release is Moly e. In this catchy number, the bright rhythmic strumming of the kabosy is anchored by deep chanting from the backing vocals. In turn, this rich and textured instrumental lends a vibrant depth to Berikely’s warm voice over the top.

Read WAT’s previous Tune of the Week here.

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