Monika Njava | Haizina

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by Monika Njava

In Haizina (Darkness) you’ll hear the power and emotion of Madagascar’s most celebrated singer in a world-pop style that blends traditional Malagasy and Western influences.
Genre: World: World Beat
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ravola
4:49 $0.99
2. Mampirafy
3:39 $0.99
3. Reolo
4:15 $0.99
4. Tambanivolo (feat. Gilberto Moravalo)
3:47 $0.99
5. Tomany
4:53 $0.99
6. La vie
3:23 $0.99
7. Sahira (feat. Remanindry)
3:28 $0.99
8. Jiny karokaro
1:37 $0.99
9. Mieretsreta
3:49 $0.99
10. Bemola
4:05 $0.99
11. Alaheloko
4:45 $0.99
12. Mausolée
5:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Haizina (Darkness) is a unique blend of Malagasy and Western musical influences. Yet it’s not simply a pastiche. “Decisions about musical style,” Monika says, “grew out of the identity of each song – its melody and lyrics.”

The rhythms and vocal style are deeply rooted in the beko music of the Antandroy and Mahafaly peoples of southern Madagascar where Monika grew up. “From this basis,” she explains, “we integrated modern instruments and Western influences, especially pop and soul.” This can be clearly heard, for example, in the variety of guitar styles on the album, from traditional marovany to Memphis. And in the contrast of a classical string quartet and the lokanga, a three-stringed fiddle from the Antandroy region.


Monika sings about poverty, injustice and corruption. The pain of a torn family. The destructive power of money. The trauma of domestic violence. She explains, “As an artist I’m not directly engaged in politics. But I don’t hesitate to use my music to denounce the political problems in my country.” One example is “Mausolée”, a reprise of her massive hit banned by the government of the time.

Haizina features distinct Malagasy dialects. Antandroy, Antanosy, Mahafaly from the southwest of the island where Monika grew up. Antemoro spoken in the southeast where her parents came from. Merina, from the central highlands. “And some French,” she says, “for the sauce.”


Haizina is a truly international project. It was recorded on two different continents with musicians from three.

In addition to Monika, who co-produced the album, there are a large number of artists from Madagascar. They include guitarist/bassist/co-arranger Christian Ravalison and drummer/percussionist Pata Njava. Chrysanthe Velomijoro plays lokanga violin. There are two guest vocalists: Remanindry, who also plays lokanga, and Gilberto Moravalo, who accompanies himself on guitar and mandoliny. Backing vocals are by Vonihantamalala Ramparany, Lala Njava, Mamitiana Beby Matio, Haingoarilanto Brunette Matio and Thierry Reydellet.

Four Belgian musicians contribute to the project. Dirk Degroef plays electric guitar and Quentin Dujardin adds acoustic guitar and ukulele. They are joined by Johan Vandendriessche on saxophones and trumpeter Carlo Nardozza. Rounding out the team are three Americans. Co-producer and co-arranger Daniel Brandt also plays keyboards. Strings are arranged by Cal Scott and performed by Adam LaMotte.


Growing up on the island of Madagascar in the southwest port of Morondava, Monika Njava was one of fifteen siblings in a very musical family. She began performing when she was fourteen. Heading south to the larger city of Tuléar at eighteen, she started her own group. She also opened a small “snack” with live music. This eventually grew into a real club, Galeha Dance, remembered in Tuléar to this day.

With the release of the hit “Mausolée”, Monika became a national celebrity. An attack on the money and power of elites, it was banned by the government. But this didn’t stop her from touring the entire island and becoming known as Madagascar’s greatest singer.

Moving to Europe in 1991 she and four siblings formed the group Njava, with Monika on lead vocals. A big break came in 1992 when Njava won the Prix media from Radio France Internationale. This led to a world tour of major festivals and a contract with EMI. Two superlative albums were released, Vetse and Source. Meanwhile, Monika began recording and touring with the platinum-selling group Deep Forest.

Her most recent project is Island Jazz, a collaboration with the bass virtuoso from Mauritius, Linley Marthe.


“A great lady of music. The concerts offered by the diva were always dates not to be missed.” La Vérité

“Monika Njava eternal. A feast for the ears, but also for the eyes. Not everyone gets a chance to see such alchemy. An unforgettable moment.” L’Express de Madagascar

“Her new album Haizina allows her to show her true personality. It is an opus of well-crafted compositions.” Midi-Madagasikara



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