Madagascar Slim updates traditions of blues and African music
Saturday, February 23
Bridgeland Riverside Community Centre
Sunday, February 24
The Banff Centre
Toronto based musician Madagascar Slim is currently enjoying widespread fame or what passes for it in Canada. The winner of two Juno Awards in the last two years in 2001 as part of Tri-Continental with Bill Bourne and Lester Quitzau, and in 2000 with his band Salegy for Omnisource (Best Global Album) Slim is in high demand. He is currently touring Western Canada with his band of Malagasy musicians, most of whom are based in France. As his previous performances at the Calgary Folk Music Festival will attest, there are few Canadian artists who would be a more appropriate or exciting choice to wrap up the Black History Month extravaganza hosted by the African Festival and Presentation Society on February 23 at Bridgeland Riverside Community Hall. He'll also play a gig at the Banff Centre the following night.
Madagascar Slim is, above all, a blues musician but he is a blues musician with a difference. Like many Malagasy musicians, he was exposed to numerous divergent musical influences from within Madagascar and Africa in general. Antananarivo, the highland capital of Madagascar and Slim's original home, is a cultural melting pot of sorts, its airwaves within easy reach of radio stations in Southern and Eastern Africa (most notably Kenya). It was here that a young "Slim" (his real name is Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin) first picked up his brother's guitar and tried to emulate his playing. Those initial fumblings have led, over the past 30-odd years, to Slim's unique approach to music, which incorporates a range of influences from Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King to South American and Latin rhythms and beyond. Whether you call it Malagasy modern, as Slim sometimes does, or just world music, it is truly infectious and spirited, indeed.