Razia Zebu Nation

Razia Zebu Nation
Self-proclaimed nomadic traveller Razia Said's debut album, Zebu Nation, is an eclectic fusion of traditional Malagasy music with French, jazz and Indian influences. Lyrically focusing on the fight to stop deforestation in her birthplace of Madagascar, it took Razia three years to make the album. On opener "Babonao," Razia sounds enchanting, accompanied by shakers, percussive claps and acoustic guitar. Recorded in Madagascar, Razia tries to capture the country's political and environmental strife, best heard on "Lalike," a vocally eerie acoustic track about drought, while "Mifohaza" is a call to action for community change. Musically, one of the album's main instrumental highlights is award-winning accordionist Regis Gizavo, whose talent is best showcased on "Yoyoyo." Although mostly sung in her native tongue of Malagasy, Razia sings in French on "Tsy Tara" and English on "Slash and Burn," which is about a widely used, damaging deforestation method. A bonus is English translations for every song in the album's liner notes, which helps further Razia's message about saving Madagascar's natural habitats. (Cumbancha)