Tarika, D

Banning Eyre

By Banning Eyre

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Rich harmonies and crisp beats in 12/8 time from Madagascar.

The folklore of Madagascar is soothingly tuneful, but peppered with tricky, lightning-fast rhythms. On this charmed set, the Indian Ocean island's most internationally successful roots pop group reworks local radio hits from the '70s and '80s and adds a few tunes of their own. D stands for Dihy, or "dance." But if you plan to dance to the likes of "Mihetsika" (a racing tsapika from the south of the island) or "Samy Mandeha Samy Mitady" (a salegy hit for northern supergroup Jaojoby), you need to be comfortable in 12/8 time, the island nation's signature beat. Tarika render crisp, dance-oriented pop grooves using the gentle sounds of acoustic guitars, plucked harps, especially the tube-shaped valiha, as well as other box zithers and other local string oddities. Sisters Hanitra and Noro lead richly harmonized vocals, breezy and sweet on upbeat numbers like "Restany," and lulling on the occasional ballad, like "Ilahikolo."