Everything you want to know about Madagascar and never dared to ask

A Family of Jazz October 25, 2011

There is always a musician or a singer in a Malagasy family. In my own family for instance, we all play an instrument or sing. Your honourable blogger used to play the piano and sang in a choir with her sister. Her sister played the violin, her dad also plays the piano, her mum sang and her godson played the trumpet. We could have an awesome orchestra altogether.

Don´t worry, I am not going to bother you with the history of my family. After I had met Kilema, I realised how lucky I was to be surrounded by real professional musicians and this blog gives me the opportunity to write about them, to promote them.

Two of my cousins are actually so active that they have become quite famous in the music field. Two brothers, one in Madagascar, one in France. My cousin Haja Ravaloson, who plays himself various instruments, has a wonderful crooner of a voice and is a very popular guitar jazz teacher, is member of the board of the International Festival Madajazzcar. This Jazz festival has just ended last week after two weeks of intensive program. It always takes place in Antananarivo andevery year the best jazz players from all over the world come to Madagascar to be part in this fantastic event.

If you love music and jazz especially I advise you to take a flight to Madagascar or if you´re broke just take a look at the festival´s website Madajazzcar.

Here are some of the big names : Trio Esperança , Mônica Passos (Brasil), Didier Lockwood,, Louis Winsberg, Michel Portal, Linley Marthe, Omri Mor (Israel), Sadao Watanabe, Mario Canonge (Martinique), Håkon Berre (Norway)  and all the wonderful Malagasy artists who live abroad: Nivo and Serge Rahoerson, Lalao and Jeannot Rabeson, Rabary Rabeson, Tony Rabeson and many more…

My other cousin Andry who lives in Lille, is a guitar player of great renown. I think everyone in Northern France knows who he is. He has become one of the most popular guitar players and a beloved music teacher, not only because he plays extremely well, but also because he is one of the nicest and funniest persons I know. And I don´t say that because we are related. His main band is Andry Ravaloson Quartet, but he plays with everybody who needs a good guitarist. He even plays the harmonica and the guitar bass. He can play anything any style. His brother Bara plays the contrabass and the  saxophone and other instruments as well. The thing I found most irritating is that they never learnt playing at a music school, unlike me who attended boring music theory courses and played hours and hours of piano technique. They just started playing and improvising and they are just so good at what they´re doing! I´m just jealous, but I´m also a very lazy girl. Too lazy to learn the chords by myself.

Anyway, here are some videos of them, Andry, the brother and the nephews. Enjoy!

Andry, Bara, Tohery and Vaika another nephew at AFT during Madajazzcar 2010:

I could not finish this article by paying a tribute to my late cousin Onisoa who passed away when she was only 14. Horrible cancer!

Rest in Peace Onisoa.

Music composed be Andry Ravaloson.

Andry Ravaloson Quartet on My Space:

Madajazzcar, site official:

Madajazzcar Festival Official – Facebook:


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