Music, music, music. Slam or the African sound of the Antanadroy traditional music, the ever popular salegy, but also hip hop and drum rolls that accompanied the acrobats. It happened at Centre Lambahoany during the weekend of 24, 25, 26 September. No less than 25 groups made an appearance.

The Angaredona festival is a yearly event in the Capital Antananarivo, an initiative of the internationally acknowledged jazz- and world musician Rajery. Last year was a try-out for an Angaredona in the provinces. Centre Lambahoany in Toamasina had the honour. That was much to everyone’s liking. The local organisation Kolon’Art ran their feet off to fix things up, these last months. It paid off, it was an overwhelming success!

Friday evening was the pre-festival for invited guests with the three best groups in town: Mivehy, Ny Zanaboanio and our very B-Sarouk. Those three also closed the show on Sunday. That day the festival was free. In the afternoon the coming talented youth had the stage: Tony Velonarivo, Miarakandro, Satreky alternating with better known groups as Ragnetse, Tsilavina du Sud and Rababalah. And there was a reggae band of course. The public could not get enough of it and it was almost midnight – hours later than planned – before B-Sarouk’s basesa could intoxicate the public one last time. A worthy end of a worthy festival.

Rainforests of Atsinanana, East-Madagascar on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Last July the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed the rainforests of Antsinanana on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Their reason to do so is: “…because of illegal logging and hunting of endangered lemurs on the site. The Committee noted that despite a decree outlawing the exploitation and export of rosewood and ebony, Madagascar continues to provide export permits for illegally logged timber. It also noted that countries that had ratified the World Heritage Convention are known destinations for this timber. The Committee urged Madagascar to take all necessary measures to enforce the decree and halt illegal logging activities. It also encouraged the State Party to organise a high level meeting of countries concerned to ensure that illegal timber originating from Madagascar is both banned and prevented from entering their national markets.

Lemurs are depending on the rainforest for survivalHaving completed its separation from all other land masses more than 60 million years ago, Madagascar’s plant and animal life evolved in isolation. The Rainforests of Atsinanana, comprising six national parks on the eastern side of the country, are critically important for maintaining ongoing ecological processes necessary for the survival of the island’s unique biodiversity, which reflects its geological history. Many species are rare and threatened, especially primates and lemurs.”
(source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/639)

Some of our ecotreks include parts of the rainforests of Antsinanana. Our partners in Madagascar do their best to preserve the rainforests and together with other organisations counterbalance this devastating development.

B-Sarouk, the local houseband of Centre Lambahoany, has recorded a special song for Centre Lambahoany. B-Sarouk, which means “big hat” in Malagasy, has played many times already on the stage at the centre and plays mainly Basesa.

The band was formed in 2007 and consists of six young talented musicians from Toamasina. In 2008 the band has been chosen as artist of the year by TREMPLIN at the Alliance Francaise. In 2009 they had their first performance at Centre Lambahoany, together with Raoul of the famous Malagasy band Mahaleo. In 2009 again they have been named the most talented band by different prominent bands like Mahaleo, Mila & Davis and Samoela. B-Sarouk plays both Basesa, a traditional style of music of the Betsimisaraka (the ethnic group of people who mainly live in Toamasina), and Malagasy Betsimisaraka blues (acoustic).

B-Sarouk aims to become a succesfull band and will always do its best to promote the music of Madagascar, especially which originates from the area of Toamasina.

The Lambahoany song describes the following in its lyrics:

– The lambahoany as it is used by the Malagasy people (rectangle cloth),
– “Viary tsara anaty lambahoany” means, beautiful girl, which is loved by everyone,
– The song is also about the centre and it’s importance for the local community. About the cultural events, the tourists and the parties that are held here.

Play the song B-Sarouk – Lambahoany

If you would like to know more about B-Sarouk and it upcoming first album, please contact us.

 

 

Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands surrounding it, such as Mauritius and the Seychelles, represent a so-called biodiversity hotspot. Only few places in the World have a similarly high diversity in plants and animals. On top of that many of the species found in this hotspot cannot be found anywhere else in the World. For instance, at least 90 percent of Madagascar’s reptiles are found only on Madagascar!

One type of reptile found in all colours and sizes is the smaller sized lizard known as gecko. Anyone who has ever met a gecko knows you cannot miss them. These funny little creatures are constantly calling out to each other by making chirping sounds.

Geckos come in two flavours, the party-all-night-long flavour and the early-riser-afraid-of-the-dark flavour. The nocturnal geckos usually have dull, brownish colours, while the day geckos are known as the ‘jewels of Madagascar’ because of their bright colours. I guess these geckos can’t have it all…

Camouflage Gecko
Camouflage Gecko

Most geckos have specialised scales in their feet with microscopic hooks on them, which allow them to cling to vertical surfaces and hang upside down. This results in geckos not only in your bed but also above it on the ceiling, next to you on the wall… they are literally all over the place.

But there is another funny thing about them: they lick their eyeballs! Once in a while you see their long, flat tongue shoot out of their mouth, land on their eyes and then slither back down into their mouth again… Yes, you heard it right! But they have good reason for this mildly weird behaviour. Their large, round eyes are only protected by single transparent scales, so no eyelids. It seems that these scales, just like the windscreen on your car, need to be cleaned once in a while, hence the licking of the eyeballs…

So, let’s consider the camouflage gecko. The mossy leaf-tailed or fringed gecko (genus Uroplatus) is an absolute master of disguise. At present 11 species are recognised, which differ in size from 6-7 cm up till 30 cm. But no matter how large they get, they are almost impossible to recognize, which the picture above illustrates. Their habitat is mostly rainforests but they are also found in deciduous forests, which lose their leafs in the fall. The larger species, as the one in the picture, tend to mimic tree bark, while the smaller ones look like dry leafs. I guess that’s why they are mostly found in rainforests, looking like a leaf in a leafless forest is not going to save you from the predators…

Information sources used for this text are Madagascar Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide (Garbutt, Bradt and Schuurman, Bradt travel guide, April 2006) and the website http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org.

 

The biodiversity on Madagascar is huge, but so are the amount of threaths for conservation of the species and habitats.

The UN have called out the 22nd of May to be the international day of bioversity and 2010 the international year of biodiversity. Of course we couldn’t let this pass us by unnoticed, especially at the biodiversity hotspot that is Madagascar.

Park Ivoloina therefore organized several activities at their park during a 3 day event. The celebrations of the ‘day of biodiversity’ started at Centre Lambahoany. A day full of activities and events to create awareness on the importance of biodiversity, such as the election of Miss and Mr Biodiversité from at least 400 schoolchildren. B-Sarouk gave a wonderfull performance. After this the celebrations continued with a defilé towards Avenue de l’Independance in the city center of Tamatave.

The following days the celebration continued at Park Ivoloina, a recreational, zoological and educational park, with expositions and explainations on the biodiversity in the region. We have learned about the threatened fish populations  offshore, the diversity of animals which live in the region and special attention for the bees, who are starting to disappear in the region. The latter would be a devastating trend because without the bees the fruits can’t survive, and the litchis is the nr. 1 industry here.

So let’s celebrate and protect the biodiversity of Madagascar!

 

 

 

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