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JAOJOBY (article first published : 2001-03-21)

The BAT Centre, in association with Alliance Française de Durban, will host a one-off performance by sensational salegy group, Jaojoby, from Madagascar at BAT on March 25

While the modern music of Africa often resembles its Western models -- salsa, reggae, pop -- salegy is fiercely Malagasy. In the same style as the Mauritian sega, its unfettered rhythms and vibrant harmonies remain unique to Madagascar. Salegy blends the old with the new with the traditional accordion now a synthesizer, string instruments replaced by guitars and drums now taking the place of conventional local percussion instruments.

Described by Jaojoby founder Jaojoby Eusebe as a “rhythmic tornado carrying the listener forever higher in a profound trance which no dancer can resist”, salegy in true Malagasy tradition takes its influences from successive migrations from Asia, African, Europe and America.”

Born on the north-west coast of Madagascar, Jaojoby Eusebe made his way from village dances to international stages without cutting himself off from his roots. Like many before him, Eusebe began his musical journey at church. His uncle was the organist, and the little Eusebe sang in accompaniment. At the age of 15, he was sent to Diego Suarez, the regional capital (now Antsiranana) to study. Destiny intervened just one month later when Eusebe entered a radio contest, singing in front of a microphone and with an orchestra for the first time. He won. Studies were cast aside for the time being, and the doors of Madagascar's clubs opened to “the little one who sings”.

Over the next few years, Eusebe joined a number of local groups, recording several titles on the compilation album, The Masters of Salegy. Dubbed the “King of Salegy”, Eusebe formed Jaojoby in the late1980s.

Jaojoby's performance at the BAT Centre starts at 19h30. Tickets R40 each booked at the BAT Centre in the Small Crafts Harbour or Alliance Française in Morningside. Subject to availability, there will be tickets at the door on the night of the performance.




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