Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Tarika Sammy

  • Fanafody [Xenophile, 1992] A-
  • Balance [Green Linnet, 1994] Neither

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fanafody [Xenophile, 1992]
In concert, these two women and two men from Madagascar left me nauseous with memories of Peter, Paul & Mary--made me suspect that their profusion of lively rhythms and lovely melodies could be nothing more than the market-ready "folk music" of the planet's largest one-world theme park. On record, however, the fine Afro-Asian tunes and sonorities overcome--with a crucial guest boost from two Mustaphas two on Afro-American bass and drums. A-

Balance [Green Linnet, 1994] Neither

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1990s]: Over and above their fine Afro-Asian tunes and sonorities, the secret of Madagascar's most successful export was female vocalist Hanitra. At her ebullient best she's a pep pill for the soul, but at her chirpy worst she can leave you so nauseous with memories of Peter, Paul & Mary you start to suspect that all these lively rhythms and lovely melodies are nothing more than the market-ready "folk music" of the planet's largest one-world theme park. Shortly after making their mark with 1992's Fanafody, the group split, with Hanitra and her confederates forming the efficiently dubbed Tarika (Malagasay for "band") while musical maestro Sammy held on to the Tarika Sammy brand. Tarika Sammy Mach II is tasteful if not too tasteful--modernist by the standards of their multicultural Petri dish of an island homeland, they sound like folkies from here. Tarika, meanwhile, continue bright if not too bright. I enjoyed 1997's Son Egal but, as usual, got first dizzy and then depressed deciding whether it was chirpy or ebullient.