Malagasy Guitar Music: D’Gary and Modeste

June 9, 2010

I was plucking a few lines on my guitar the other day in a rehearsal with singer extraordinaire Charlotte Wassy when out of the blue she asked me if I’d ever heard of the Malagasy guitarist D’Gary. The name rung familiar – I’d seen his name in Banning Eyre’s Africa Guitar instructional book – but I couldn’t say I knew his music well. She let it rip on her ipod and immediately I was filled with that recognizable, overwhelming sensation of being simultaneously enamored by the dazzling finger work and complex rhythmic drive of the music, and dejected with the realization that I have lots of work to do. Argh!

There is much to be said about Malagasy guitar music, and I’m not going to do it justice, so here is a fascinating and lengthy article on the subject, featuring interviews with D’Gary and the equally excellent London-based Modeste.

D’Gary has recently become a world-famous touring artist, but I figured I’d start off by posting something from his early years. These tracks can be heard on his entrancing 1991 debut release, Malagasy Guitar: Music from Madagascar:


Anary Tany – D’Gary


Sahira – D’Gary

For good measure, here’s a track from his 2002 release, Akata Meso, which throws into relief his effortless virtuosity:


Bobo-drano – D’Gary

Now for the magnificent Modeste. Here are a couple of tracks off his self-titled debut. I have the great fortune of being able to see him up close in action at Livestock Festival in Oxfordshire, UK this coming August.


Asio Farany – Modeste


Mamangy – Modeste

Finally, here’s one off of his second album, Fomba/Living Our Destiny:


Piripiky – Modeste

Both of Modeste’s albums were graciously given to me by my good buddy Oscar Cainer, who’s done sound for Modeste at Green Note in London.

P.S. I’ve posted a couple of extra tracks today since I’m heading off to Mali for a couple of weeks and will put Circadian Sounds on sleep mode until July (unless I can get one of my guest bloggers to post something!). -C

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One Response to “Malagasy Guitar Music: D’Gary and Modeste”

  1. Karl Says:

    great music keep it up!


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