Me-go Mix: Track 9
“Analakely” — Lola
To download using Windows “right click” and save to disk. Mac users, you know what to do.
The sprawling market at the end of Analakely Street in downtown Antananarivo
Sometimes when you’re traveling in a country you hear a handful of popular songs over and over. Lola’s songs were everywhere in Madagascar. When you don’t speak the language it can be hard to figure out what you’re listening to, but if you’re willing to engage in a little pantomime you can usually figure it out. The song I heard the most in Madagascar was “I Gaskara”, which I’ve already posted. It started playing in a craft shop in Ambostra and, after pointed to my ear and into the air, the woman started singing the song and then wrote the name down on a piece of paper for me.
I didn’t find many music shops until I got back to the capital, where there are stands of CD sellers lining Analakely street, the main thoroughfare in town. The stands had a lot of strange music, including old Billy Joel CDs and Gospel recordings. I was surprised to find no Lola CDs for sale on the street and started to ask around. One man with a bag full of CDs came up with a Lola CD which was obviously pirated and began to sing Lola’s “Manahirana” to me. The serenade attracted a crowd of young men selling a variety of cheap plastic goods who surrounded me and joined in. Buying CDs off street sellers is always a risk because you never know what’s on the disc. In this case I bargained him down to 1/4th his asking price, an amount I didn’t mind losing if the CD was blank.
When I popped it into my laptop back at the hotel I discovered it wasn’t blank, but it was a VCD disc with various artists including Lola, but not the Lola song I was looking for. The next day I tracked down a brick and mortar record store carrying real Lola CDs on Analakely Street near the market (a photo of the store is in this post). I was shocked at the price of CDs, which were cheaper than the U.S. but too expensive for a local to afford. Two Mormon missionaries dressed in black suits and ties came in and we discussed the price of CDs. In my travels I often run across missionaries, but the ones from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints always lend a bit of surrealness to my surroundings. Young men dressed in suits, pasty white and always in pairs, they tend to stick out even in the United States so you can imagine how strange they would look in a record shop in Madagascar on a 90 degree day. I ended up getting a full Lola CD (not VCD!), and having the opportunity to listen to it before I handed over my money. “Analakely” is the third, and last, Lola song on my mix. Enjoy!