RAIVO - Mahabibo This is the second recording by RAIVO, an Ottawa based group which was formed in 2001 and is dedicated to playing original compositions and the music of Raymond Razafimbahiny (1919 - 1963) better known in his native Madagascar as R.R. Majunga. Raivo's first CD is entitled Hommage and can be found on CD Baby. Like with Hommage, Raivo feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to record Mahabibo and interpret the music of R.R. Majunga. However, this recording is different from Hommage. Although it retains the strong melodic sense and warmth found on the first recording, there is also an attempt to make stronger musical statements. The same broad template is used to interpret both the original music composed by Dean Pallen and R.R. Majunga's material to provide the listener with a sense of hearing something familiar yet exotic at the same time. With originals like Dihy, Fefy Nirondana, and Tsidika, Raivo entrenches it's jazz roots while paving a new musical direction for the band that will see the ongoing marriage of Malagasy musical traditions with other styles going in new directions. With Mahabibo, Raivo made the musical connection between South Africa and Madagascar, the two African countries that have a long tradition of putting the piano at the forefront in both traditional and popular music. In fact, Raivo is very much on a crusade of keeping the tradition of piano based African music alive. Once upon a time, properly functioning pianos could be found all across the island of Madagascar. Today, this tradition for a number of reasons, mostly economic, is very threatened. On Mahabibo one can still hear the traditional Malagasy piano style that R.R. Majunga excelled at and as does RAIVO's pianist Tiana Rabezandriny. Like with Hommage, Raivo has included samples of R.R Majunga originals recordings to allow the listener a sense of what was taking place musically in Madagascar in the 1940's through to the early 1960's. It is also felt that by including the originals it provides the recording with a very different unique artistic impact. RAIVO is led by Maggy Razafimbahiny, who is the lead singer and her husband Dean Pallen, the musical arranger and saxophonist of the group and producer of Hommage. Ms. Razafimbahiny is also the daughter of R.R. Majunga. RAIVO means the daughter born between two daughters in Malagasy. Mr. Pallen has been the one overseeing the transition of RAIVO towards other musical styles. Although there is a strong jazz element in RAIVO\'s music due in large part to Dean Pallen's influence, the group sees itself as first and foremost as a world music band that is playing highly melodic music. It can be said that it is first and foremost popular music. R.R. Majunga\'s life story and development as a composer is closely intertwined with Madagascar's birth as a nation. Songs like Malagasy Anie ianao, NY Fytia and Fantenana are considered Malagasy classics. Malagasy anie ianao with it's focus on Malagasy pride is considered to be an unofficial Malagasy anthem. The music of R.R Majunga was at it's popularity in the 1950\'s and early 1960\'s. He composed numerous songs in the kalon\' NY fahiny/hira tranaina traditional Malagasy piano music style and the popular hiragasy style. He also mixed in other styles of music that were popular in the French colonies at the time such as the cha cha cha, mambo and jazz as can be heard by his use of the so called \'blue note of jazz.\' His songs remain well known in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean. In 1995, a collection of up and coming Malagasy musicians produced an R.R. Majunga tribute album. A similar tribute was held in the fall of 2009. Songs such as Malagasy anie ianao have been interpreted by the likes of the internationally acclaimed Malagasy band Tarika Be. As mentioned, Hommage also includes samples or full length versions of five of the original recordings of R.R. Majunga. Before this could happen, the 78 inch recordings had to be sent to a company in Newmarket Ontario to be restored and digitally transferred to the CD format. Two original versions of R.R. Majunga\'s better-known songs Fanatenana and Malagasy anie ianao, are included on the CD. When R.R Majunga was composing his music It was a time of considerable emotional contradictions where an ongoing fondness for certain French influences like the music that was brought to the island was tempered by growing disenchantment with colony rule. R.R. Majunga witnessed his own father's execution in the town square of Mananjary (a tribute to Mananjary the town can be heard on Mahabibo) by the French colonial army. At the same time he wrote some of his most beautiful and touching music in French. Many of his French compositions can be heard on Mahabibo like Mora Mora Doucement and title song of the CD. However, the moving Laisse Moi Partir was included on Hommage. Since it's creation, RAIVO has had the privilege of performing at such high profile events and locations as the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C, the Francophonie Games and the NEPAD conference in Montreal (May 2002), Ottawa's first ever African music festival, and a number of high profile events across the province of Ontario in the Francophone community. The official CD launches for both Hommage and Mahabibo were held in Ottawa, at the National Archives Library of Canada. This is a fitting location given the archival work that was involved in restoring and transcribing the R.R. Majunga originals for the Hommage recording. For the launching the young Malagasy pianist Tiana Rabezandriny who has been with Raivo since it's inception, played on the world renowned Canadian pianist Glen Gould\'s very own Steinway Piano CD-318. The honour and the connection being made between R.R. Majunga, the African pianist who explored his art in the most modest of circumstances and perhaps the greatest classical pianist of all time was felt fully by the members of Raivo. The classic jazz combo of standup bass, acoustic piano and drums that support most of the songs on the recording is the same musical formation used by R.R. Majunga. It gives this music of R.R. Majunga music a special feeling and warmth. Dean Pallen is a jazz musician and composer in his own right. He has brought some interesting twists to the strong and refreshing melodies of R.R. Majunga. He will be releasing a recording of original compositions soon along with a Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn tribute of some of their rare compositions and another recording from his other world music project, Rimbombante that focusses on the classic boleros from Latin America. . Before dedicating herself full time to RAIVO, Maggy Razafimbahiny, was the lead singer of Mada Vazo, an Ottawa group that quietly built a a strong following for itself in Quebec and Eastern Ontario by performing traditional and popular Malagasy music. Her voice has been described by Dominique Andrianjaka, a leading Malagasy drummer and percussionist as one of the most unique singing voices in popular Malagasy music. Another key member of Raivo is Lydia Razafimbahiny, who is the second female voice of Raivo and the youngest daughter of R.R. Majunga. She can be heard taking on lead vocals on \'Mandalo miserana ihany\'. Lydia Razafimbahiny has a very distinct voice that serves as a perfect complement to the jazzier inclinations of her sister Maggy. Lydia regularly serves as a backup singer to Malagasy musicians touring Canada.