Words by Martin Sinnock
Solo Razafindrakoto (aka Solorazaf) is a guitarist from Madagascar. This album confirms that he is an absolute master. The first disc is a suite inspired by the rhythms of Madagascar and specifically two major artists of Malagasy tradition. Rakotozafy was a valiha (harp) player who had a habit of murmuring melodies whilst playing – which is charmingly replicated by Solorazaf. Freddy Ranarison was an influential guitarist and leader of the Point Rouge orchestra with whom Solorazaf performed in the 70s. Thus the ‘Solonaïves’ suite is a collection of acoustic guitar pieces in which Solorazaf has overdubbed acoustic bass, foot percussion, baritone guitar and guitarlele. He adds his tastefully subdued vocal murmurings, whistling, clicks and humming to great effect. Whilst the main influence may be the rhythms of Madagascar, there is a jazz and blues sensibility that permeates the entire collection.
The second CD is a collaboration with French artist and musician Georges-Alain Duriot. Solorazaf’s exquisite acoustic guitar passages have been doctored in the studio to produce a series of soundscapes and musical interludes that intrigue, challenge and amuse. The passages feel like a movie soundtrack but stand alone as fascinating, mindblowing – and occasionally scary – ambient listening pleasures. The recording quality is beautiful; this is a truly remarkable, innovative and spellbinding recording.
TRACK TO TRY: Aloka Mafana