Madagascar Slim ( 3 TIMES JUNO AWARD WINNER )
History. Born in 1956 as Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin aka Madagascar Slim came to Canada in 1979. Early on I explored a path of Chicago blues with Steven C and the Red Rockets in Toronto.
Canadian appearances of Tao Ravao and Tarika playing Malagasy blues and roots music inspired a pursuit of contemporary interpretation of tradition previously uncharted.
Through a Canada Council study grant I was able to return home and learn valiha (bamboo zither) playing technique of the Malgache from Sylvestre Randafison in 1995. This was followed by public appearances attempting to fuse Malagasy tradition with blues, and transposing plucking styles to the acoustic and electric guitar.
Perfecting the balance of African tradition, specifically Malagasy, with electric Chicago blues has led to many collaborations with musicians including Bill Bourne and Lester Quitzau in Tri-Continental, Donne Roberts in “Slim et Donne” and with Ndidi Onukwulu doing her original repertoire of gospel roots blues.
As a practitioner of African guitar in Canada I was invited to join Alpha Yaya Diallo, Mighty Popo, Pa Joe, Adam Solomon and Donne Robert on the recording African Guitar Summit. This project developed into a concert band and a second recording session, African Guitar Summit II.
My most recent body of work has further developed the interplay of the Malagasy Salegy style (very fast 6/8 rhythm with an accent on the second beat) with blues. The five-year path of recording songs that are purely acoustic and traditional, mixed with electric blues and original lyrics has led to the release of “Good Life, Good Living”. The CD was recorded at my home studio involving some outside expertise and players, but mostly done on my own.
Events and Accomplishments:
First Malagasy traditional guitar public appearance at the Bamboo Club (Toronto) on a program featuring Downchild Blues Band and The Afro Nubians. March 1995.
First African blues band concert supporting Ali Farka Toure, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, August 1995.
World Blues Concert with Irshad Khan and Murray Porter, Harbourfront Centre, September 1996.
Secured booking agency with Hugo Rampen of Amok Music, 1997.
Recorded and release first CD, OmniSource, 1998.
World Music Juno Award for OmniSource 1999.
Record and release collaborative CD “Tri-Continental” for German label Tradition & Moderne with Bill Bourne and Lester Quitzau in 2000.
Roots and Traditional Juno Award for CD Tri-Continental, Tradition & Moderne, 2000.
Record and release “Tri-Continental Live” CD Tradition & Moderne, 2002.
Record and release “Let’s Play” CD Tradition & Modern, 2003.
Record and release “Drifting” CD Tradition & Moderne, 2004.
Provide back up band for Ndidi Onukwulu at her debut appearance Global Café Festival, Distillery District, Toronto, July 2004.
Toronto Blues Society Showcase at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Guelph, with Donne Robert, Ndidi Onukwulu, October 2004.
Record and release “African Guitar Summit” CD for CBC Records with producer Todd Fraracci, November 2004.
Blues Summit Conference Showcase with Donne Robert and Ndidi Onukwulu, Delta Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, January 2005.
World Music Juno Award for participation on “African Guitar Summit” (CBC Records, 2005)
Toronto Blues Society Canadian Music Week Showcase: The Perpetrators, Ndidi Onukwulu, Wickens-Knight, Healey’s, March 2006.
Record and release “African Guitar Summit II” CD for CBC Records with producer Todd Fraracci, September 2006.
Ontario Council of Folk Festivals “Official Showcase”, w/ Donne Robert and Ndidi Onukwulu, Kingston, October 2006.
Open for Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band on his European tour.
Chosen to play with Angelique Kidjo on her appearance for Grandmother Against Aid in Africa in Toronto.