Zebu Nation - Razia Said
No man is an island, but an island very much stands alone. Some islands are magical in their isolation as Darwin discovered in documenting the flora and fauna of the Galapagos. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Eighty percent of its plants and animals are endemic to the island. Madagascar is, or at least was a magical place. The gorgeous Malagasy global fusion of Razia’s new album, Zebu Nation opens our eyes and ears to Madagascar’s sad reality (not that there’s anything particularly plaintive about the rhythmic brew that percolates through the disc). Zebu Nation’s stunning first video single Mifohaza scrolls the frightening statistics for us in its first few moments. Because of criminally short-sighted, slash and burn agriculture known as ‘tavy’, one third of the trees in Madagascar are burned each year and 1 percent of its remaining forests are leveled. It’s time to wake up or as the Malagasy say it, mifohaza. Razia Said is an emerging voice in Madagascar who is conscious, wide-eyed and appalled by the destruction of her magical island. Her emotional plea is enveloped in rich and textured melodies through the talents of an all-star Malagasy ensemble including accordion wizard, Regis Gizavo and the funky guitar scratching of Dozzy Njava. Eight of the ten songs on Zebu Nation play to this environmental disaster, and for those who can’t bother to read the liner notes, the single English selection begs the question in no uncertain terms, “Don’t we have a choice?” Buy the album for selfish listening pleasure and feed your good karma, knowing that ten percent of the net profits from the sale of Zebu Nation will be used to plant trees in Madagascar.