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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo

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    Like all historic sites in Madagascar, the Andriamasoandro “kingdom” in Ambohidranandriana, in the Vakinankaratra region, has many destinations that can be of interest to village tourism enthusiasts.
    This is the case of Vontovorona. It is a mountain massif comprising Vontovorona proper (2,054m), Itendro-north (2,049m), Itendro-south (2,070m) and Ambohikely (1,954m). Vontovorona is the mountain that you see from the RN 7, a few kilometers from the city of Eaux. It is one of the recommended sites for visitors to Antsirabe. It is about 5 km from Ambohidranandriana.
    At his foot, a stone is raised. It marks the encampment of the Andriamasoandro when they arrived in the country, although the first one came to the scene is Andrianony, but it only passes. Until today, many people come to pray and offer offerings (red rooster, rum, homemade sweets …), driven by the need to marry, to have a child, to make a fortune, to recover Health, etc.
    The summit of the mountain is arranged to receive hikers. Stone blocks offer their service for rest after the harsh climb. From there you have an admirable view of the four corners of the region, especially on the borders of the former state of Ambohidranandriana: Ambohitsimanova in the south, Manazary in the west and Andranomanelatra in the north. The southeastern boundary lies at the level of the stele erected at the foot of the mountain. A ritual altar is also installed on the summit, but it has no connection with the Andriamasoandro migration.
    However, due to a taboo that prohibits dirtying the area, all hikers and visitors must take precautions before climbing the mountain, doing their needs or purifying their hands. Another “fady” on these sacred places, the introduction of everything related to pork.
    After the French conquest most servants and dependents of Andriamasoandro Maromena and Marolahy, leave the fortified site to settle outside the ditch and on the surrounding mountains. By the 1950s, the Marolahs decided to build a tomb that, by its beauty and grandeur, would surpass those of the nobles and symbolize their liberation from the state of servants. It is obvious that they really use their meninges (Farahevitra literally means ultimate idea) to achieve the result they want to achieve. What we see today attests, because the construction is really grand.
    However, the construction of the tomb can never be completed. Deep of about ten meters and with two or three levels accessed by a stone staircase, it is made of enormous thick plates of granite as funerary beds and pillars to support them. There are still some samples left behind.
    These stone plaques were cut at the time at the level of their grooves using burned oxen dung. They are laid without the use of cement, but so well arranged that they hold the balance until today and do not present any risk of accident.
    These enormous plates of stone are said to have been transported from the surrounding hills. The Marolahys, it is said, still rotate to shoot them with vegetable ropes (bozaka). And every time they break, an ox must be felled. Given the weight of these stone plates and the fragility of the strings used, it is easy to imagine the number of animals sacrificed. It also means that their transport does not last for more than one year, especially as men must at the same time devote themselves to the work of the fields.
    Unfortunately, this ambitious project can not be appreciated by the manes of the Andriamasoandro. Indeed, since the 1950s, three successive generations started the construction and then continue the works. Each time, the initiators die mysteriously.
    According to the Zanadray, direct descendants of Andriamasoandro, the explanation is quite simple. During the First World War, an Andriamasoandro called Rainisalama and living in Ambohimanatrika, resorts to the services of a Marolahy. The latter enlisted and moved to France in place of the son of Rainisalama, while the latter took charge of all his family and gave him one hectare of rice fields in Amparihimena, in the plain of Vavaharana. This is called “takalom-basy”. Rainisalama is not the only noble to negotiate as well.
    The Marolahy, however, returned safe and sound from the war. In recognition to Rainisalama who he considers his “father”, he decides to translate his remains to Farahevitra. That would be simply unimaginable, an Andriana not being able to be buried in a tomb of commoners. Hence these deaths, which resemble sacrificial rituals.


    In his policy of reunification and enlargement of his kingdom, Andrianampoinimerina (1745-1810) turned to Andrantsay, in the present Vakinankaratra. Accompanied by his son Laidama who succeeded him under the name of Radama I and who made his baptism of fire, he wanted to take Fandanana, a stronghold where Andriamanalina-Betsileo reigned. The battle is rough and finally the king of the Imerina returns empty-handed in his capital. He returned a year later, dividing his troops into two groups, one of which was led by his son.
    This one must arrive by the West and Andrianampoinimerina by the East. The king passes by Ambodiala whom he easily defeats. He shares his troops again and sends a part to the rescue of his son. Then he reached Manazary and Ambohidranandriana. He is accompanied by Zanadrangorinimerina (the son of Rangorinimerina of his maternal grandmother’s clan), Tantsaha and Manisotra, all valiant warriors. As soon as he approaches his army, all the inhabitants barricade themselves in the well protected village.
    As usual, Andrianampoinimerina begins by negotiating by calling the descendants of Andriamasoandro, son of Ralambo with his third wife, to submit without fighting. They refuse. The king reiterates his appeal but in vain. The battle begins. The battle is rude. The king was even wounded during the assaults.
    At the end of five days, the Andriamasoandro know a crushing defeat following the death of their chief, Andriamanimahamiry, but also and especially because the sovereign merina cuts the whole system
    Of water in the village. The latter falls, open, it is said, by the Council of the Wise in the face of the crucial problem arising from the cut of the water.
    Andrianampoinimerina installs the Zanadrangorinimerina and gives them Bekáka name given to the plain of Ambohimanarivo, and Lavadrano, together of the rice fields of Ambohidranandriana and Ambohitsimanova. That is to say, almost the whole of the fief of Ambohidranandriana with the exception of Tongarivo. And as the lord died in battle, Andrianampoinimerina decreed that his sons (all those who bear the name of the father or Zanadray) will be dispossessed of any estate for shooting at him. This measure, however, affects only the Andriamanimahamiry family, which he relegates among the “Havanandriana” without a fief, “and not all the Andriamasoandro”, says Emmanuel Fauroux.
    In addition, at the time pronounce the name of the lord defeated is taboo. Some historians claim that his body is even left unburied. But according to the present Zanadray, it is buried in the northeast of the “Kianja”, a large square situated at the zoro firarazana, a sacred corner of the Malagasy in general, and Merina in particular, at his request. For he would have said during his lifetime that he wanted to be buried simply, “where his people could see him”.
    With the merina conquest, work to develop the vast fertile plains of Ambohimanarivo, largely abandoned until then because they were indefensible against possible aggressions, is continuing since there are no enemies to to fear. A garrison of merina soldiers is even installed there and the village becomes the political and administrative center at the expense of Ambohidranandriana. A tendency to division then appears. This is especially true of the swarming of the tombs. The tomb of common origin would be in Miadanimerina where it would have been buried Andrianjafimasoandro, direct descendant of Andriamasoandro, died during the march of the Andriamasoandro towards Ambohidranandriana.

    Besides this tomb, the oldest tombs in the country (except the Andrianovs) are the three that are found in Ambohimitsivalana. Emmanuel Fauroux explains these “tombs of the three brothers” as belonging to the Andriamasoandro. The one of the Zanadray is located the most to the north because they are of the elder line; The Marolahy is in the center; And that of the Maromena, of the younger line, is built to the south. However, the current Zanadray argue that only their lineage is from Andriamasoandro and that behind the words “three brothers”, it is mostly to hear “brothers of blood”, the departure of the Imerina being made on the basis of a ” A pact linking the Andriana to their dependents.
    In all cases, originally there is only one “Famadihana”, the three tombs being open simultaneously. Subsequently, from 1860-1880, the “lineages” organized separate ceremonies. Then the two tombs of the north prove to be too small, two others are built: the one says Rafilibera for the Zanadray and that of Ambohimanatrika for the Marolahy.
    Much later, the mesalliance begins to be seen among the Andriamasoandro who want to preserve their descendants from the physical and mental consequences of endogamy. The tomb of the Zanadrainy at Ambohimitsivalana is no longer open, even for exhumations, for the spoils of ancestors can not be touched by people who no longer have “pure blood”. On the other hand, the tomb of Amboninandrainarivo called Rafilibera is still used.


    The Pasteur Institute of Antananarivo originated in the microbiology laboratory which was founded in 1899 in Tsimbazaza. At the beginning, it is a laboratory whose essential mission is to manufacture the Jennerian vaccine, preventive against smallpox, and to ensure the treatment of rabies. As early as 1897 General Gallieni asked the Paris Institute to designate for Madagascar one of the first colonial doctors who began to learn in the laboratories of Paris, inaugurated in November 1888. Pasteur prescribed to undertake without delay The study of pestilential diseases that decimate the populations of Asia and Africa.
    It is Dr. Thiroux, physician of the Colonies, who is chosen to organize the center of Antananarivo. Like all the initiators of the Great Island, Dr. Thiroux arriving in Antananarivo, has everything to create, local and auxiliary personnel. “Under the name Vaccinogenic Park, the future Institut Pasteur and its first objective had to go to the most urgent, which was to produce the Jennerian vaccine in sufficient quantities for the needs of the population. “In the first year, the Vaccine Department can provide 12,000 doses of a perfectly effective vaccine and in the following year more than 250,000 doses.
    The installation of the Service of the rabies is made with much more difficulty, because the fixed virus, dispatched from France, “had no more virulence on its arrival”. On his way to Toamasina, however, Dr. Thiroux was able to obtain a strain of origin on the arrival of a boat, which, maintained for fifty years, still served at that time. But he immediately understood that “an immense field of research was opening up to the activity of the colonial bacteriologist at the service of industry.”
    For this reason he brings to the doctors of the hospitals the help of the laboratory, treats the lepers, studies the anthrax of animals and bovine tuberculosis, is interested in agricultural microbiology by selecting and producing pure yeasts requested by The local industry. Finally, he studies the fermentation of rice musts for the local manufacture of beer and alcohol. On his departure, Dr. Thiroux left to his successors an Institute already well adapted to the needs of the country. Dr. Neiret replaced him in 1903. He was assisted by several assistants, military doctors. He is studying rabies in Madagascar, whose virus is “more aggressive than in France”. Several other military doctors succeeded Dr. Neiret, whom a short illness carried away in 1906.
    A civilian, Dr. Salvat, a physician and pharmacist at the same time, headed the establishment from 1907 to 1919. He created a chemistry laboratory where the plants and empirical drugs of the Malagasy were studied. He is particularly interested in the issues of human and animal parasitology. In the meantime, a research laboratory led by a veterinarian, Dr Carougeau, a former collaborator of Yersin in Indochina, is attached to the Institute. Among other important tasks, he is preparing the local preparation of the anti-charcoal vaccine against the epidemic which decimates the herds of cattle.
    After Dr. Boucher, who replaces Dr. Salvat, Dr. Girard headed the Institut Pasteur from 1922 to 1940 and gave him his final organization. The means, staff, materials and premises are insufficient, “it was necessary to make new”. With the support of Governor General Marcel Olivier, the establishment is completely reorganized. In 1927, Dr. Roux and Calmette officially recognized the Pasteur Institute of Antananarivo as a subsidiary of that of Paris.
    The main objective assigned to the development of the Institute is to make it a scientific center to work not only for medicine and hygiene, but also “for colonization in all its forms”. Thus, all the chemistry laboratories, the research of food fraud, the veterinary service, agricultural chemistry housed in a vast field of six hectares with parks, pastures and gardens are grouped together in order to work together. Various buildings and pavilions equipped in a very modern way.
    “Forty years of research have devoted the work of the Pasteur Institute to the medical field
    To the benefit of hygiene and public health. Thus, smallpox, which was severely infected in Madagascar, has completely disappeared, rabies is controlled, the laboratory of
    Performed more than 18,000 analyzes in 1949. “


    The health status of a population generally reflects its standard of living and its degree of material prosperity. According to Lieutenant-Colonel Mercier, Chief Medical Officer of the Municipal Hygiene Office of Antananarivo, the capital’s current record is satisfactory and shows a rapid and noticeable improvement in the early 1950s.
    This improvement is particularly noticeable in two diseases transmitted by insect vectors. This result is due to massive domestic disinsection operations undertaken by the municipal administration at the end of 1949 and continuously continued since then and which supplement the results of immunizations obtained by vaccines in recent years.
    Indeed, of all the endemo-epidemic affections local, the plague and the malaria are still indicated at the time by the extent or the gravity of their manifestations. The first is more spectacular, the second more insidious is much more deadly for the community and therefore more important because of its demographic, economic and social implications.
    Appearing in Antananarivo in June 1921, the plague has been raging ever since.
    Often in pulmonary form, and therefore always fatal. After twenty-nine years and more than 2,000 European and indigenous cases, it is silent in the city of Antananarivo where the last case dates back to August 10, 1949. “This is the first time that such a silence of two Years has been observed for thirty years. “
    In terms of malaria, “all of my information agrees to be able to confirm its decline”: regression of the number and vitality of vector species, reduction of hematological indexes in the communities monitored, decrease in the number and frequency of unavailabilities In the public services and enterprises, a reduction in morbidity and total malaria.
    In particular, indigenous malaria mortality is already declining in 1949, following the implementation of chemoprophylaxis in Indigenous Medical Assistance and in schools. Thus, in 1950, it declined mainly from the application of control methods by residual insecticides, as shown by the figures. In 1946, the number of deaths from malaria (Madagascar population) was 843 (588.67 per 100 000 inhabitants), but in 1950 it dropped to 189 (118.42 per 100 000 inhabitants), a decrease of nearly 80% since 1946 and more than 50% between 1949 and 1950.
    During the same period, while the Aboriginal population increased by more than 11%, overall mortality decreased itself in significant proportions (over 40%). Because the number of deaths (except stillbirths) recorded at BMH rose from 3,959 in 1946 to 2,655 in 1949 and 2,315 in 1950.
    Finally, malaria, which in 1946 and 1947 ranked first in the causes of death, occupied the fourth place in 1950, after the affections of the respiratory tract, the digestive tract, and even the circulatory system. The mortality of Europeans and the like is also influenced in the same way and the number of deaths from malaria decreases from 31 in 1946 to 10 in 1950, while the number of deaths recorded in the BMH decreases by 20% (161 in 1950 against 201 In 1946), despite an increase of nearly 14% of the European population.

    This double parallel decrease in mortality from malaria and the more general decrease in the total European and indigenous population is particularly noticeable from this year 1950. “It testifies in favor of the decline in endemic malaria and undeniably coincides with The combined application of chemoprophylaxis and house-spraying operations. “
    According to Dr. Mercier, the various communicable diseases do not generally have a more severe pathological form in Antananarivo or a more extensive epidemiological form than in France. Pertussis, fever and eruptive illnesses of childhood, tetanus, influenza, pneumococcal and even typhoid fever, cerebro-spinal meningitis and diphtheria do not occur with more intensity and have only manifested themselves there than in the sporadic form. Poliomyelitis, since the epidemic outbreak of 1946-1947, where 125 cases have been recorded in four months, has since become evident only in isolated cases.
    Finally, during this period, social illnesses do not develop there either with an intensity significantly greater than that of the large French agglomerations. “While tuberculosis and especially syphilis are somewhat more widespread among the indigenous population, respiratory and digestive diseases are now the leading cause of morbidity and mortality since the decline of malaria, Endemic leprosy are reduced each year. “


    In his report to the governor of Bourbon, de Cheffefontaines, the commandant Louis Joseph Victor Carpentin, commanding the corvette the “Seine”, spoke of the situation of the French settlement on Île Sainte-Marie (August 1828).
    From the outset, he points out that much is to be said about the benefits to be gained from St. Mary’s and at very little expense in time of war. The island has, indeed, a port where one or several buildings could be loosened by a higher force. However, according to Carpentin, it is absolutely necessary to have a naval officer, at least a harbor master, to avoid the mishap of “Normandy” repeating itself. “The building is now full of water and shaved up to half its battery in the place that offers a safe and safe harbor. “

    “It would have the advantage of being able to repair any kind of building that would need it. And if it were possible to have a mole, one could clean a passage that leads to a location sheltered from anything where one could put buildings, even a frigate. “
    Another subject evoked by Carpentin, the defense of Sainte-Marie. Four pieces of cannon have just been disembarked there. They will be installed on the hill at the Monument, to the east of the island, to protect one side of the harbor and the island of fortifications. But for the defense to be complete, he says. It will take another eight pieces of cannon, four of which
    Placed on St. Pierre to guard the other side of the harbor, and the rest on the island of Les Forbans.
    Concerning road infrastructures, Carpentin stresses that the naval captain Schoëll, commander of the troops in Sainte-Marie, will need 200 to 300 Yolofs to clean and open several lanes. Especially since many settlers began to build houses and to develop the island.
    Carpentin, moreover, suggests the construction of a stronghold for the representative of the government of Bourbon, “on a site of its own”, for example on that of Ambarisomotra. This, he believes, should present no insurmountable difficulty, since the island contains all the necessary materials and possesses men for labor. “There is only the order to do it for accounting. “
    It is also from his report that orders are given to repair the tsunami, the “General-Magallon”, abandoned and stranded, as well as two boats. The “Magallon” will be used to supply Sainte-Marie with oxen, rice and other provisions. “For it has been necessary several times, and lately again, to frequent an English building, and at a great price, to have what was needed. “
    Moreover, with regard to supplies, the same problem arose at Bourbon Island. Or you have to go through the markets, because there is no ship of 200 to 300 tons, armed as a merchant vessel and assigned to the service of Bourbon in Madagascar. However, it is essential to serve to transport oxen, to load rice, “for it often happens that they are missing” and to prevent the French of Bourbon not being forced to buy several cargoes to English Or to the Dutch. For Carpentin, the best solution is to create a cattle farm on Île Sainte-Marie, where pasture is abundant.
    In another area, he recalled that the schooner “Turquoise” had to be sent from Bourbon to Mauritius to be repaired. “It cost a lot of money. He therefore suggested that he should carry out these repairs at Sainte-Marie, where there was already a good forge in the workshop, which was well equipped. To do this, it is enough to send a good carpenter who knows the caulking to direct the work. However, the construction of the abandoned “small fairing” will have to be continued beforehand due to a lack of masons and stonemasons, or to send a dozen men to ensure it, as local labor can also be used.


    “The extension of the city does not seem to threaten the rice fields, which are not conducive to construction, and in which a hundred and fifty years of efforts have buried too much capital, labor and money to make it wise to make it disappear. Agriculture will maintain a solid position in the life of Antananarivo, “writes the economist Henri Fournier in a thesis presented in Strasbourg. If he can still see the present state of the ancient plain of Betsimitatatra, especially in the rainy season, his hair would rise on his head.
    From its foundation, Antananarivo is an important agricultural center. It is estimated that 5,000 or 6,000 hectares of land were developed by the merina sovereigns during the 19th century. However, the wise provisions laid down by Andrianampoinimerina for land management and irrigation are rather quickly neglected. Also, is the system
    “Rather dilapidated” and in fact, irrigation is reduced to the upper parts of the valleys when the French administration takes over the network.
    Without going into the details of the hydraulic works carried out by the colonial administration in the plain of the Betsimitatatra, we can point out the new excavation works of the Andriantany canal which irrigates and drains the right bank of the Ikopa until its confluence with the Mamba , The construction of numerous works, dams, water intakes, valves, etc., to regulate the distribution of water, the lowering of the threshold of Farahantsana, point where the Ikopa leaves the plain, to facilitate ‘flow.
    In all, the plain contains about 10,000 hectares of the 28,000 hectares that comprise the entire river basin. In the territory of the commune of Antananarivo alone, 111 kilometers of canals provide irrigation, while the construction of the Mantasoa dam, 60 kilometers upstream, creates a water reserve, regulates distribution and To regularize the Ikopa regime. The 10,000 hectares which are within a 10-kilometer radius of the near suburb of Antananarivo not only have a direct influence on the supply of the city, but also control the activity of a number of its inhabitants
    owners. Some put their paddy fields into sharecropping and retain
    For them the third or the half of the harvest, the others exploit directly.
    The urban commune itself has about 2,500 hectares of paddy fields, which are among the “richest known”, some of which have a yield of 3.5 tonnes per hectare, comparable to that of the world’s best producers Japan at the time realized 3.2 tons). The first season rice is harvested from January, the intermediate rice from March to April, the second season rice from April to May. “Without doubt, the considerable development of the urban agglomeration proper has lost its primacy to the rural character, but it nevertheless remains and the rural life of Antananarivo, receding from the fact of urbanization, preserves Always very strong positions in the plain. “
    At the request of the Europeans, soon imitated from Malagasy, vegetable crops grow around the city, especially in the valleys of the southeast. But these suburban gardens are no longer enough. Vegetables flow into the capital from more remote areas, while old vegetable gardens give way to florists’ crops, fruit trees and the vineyard for which smallholders have a growing predilection.

    A few thousand oxen and pigs, a few hundred sheep and poultry-geese, ducks and chickens-are raised around Antananarivo, but the cattle herd “to be considered as an instrument of labor” Is a supplement for rice growers.
    Apart from some pleasant properties and some vineyards which belong to the Europeans and are situated on the hills, the rural property is essentially Malagasy. There is only one large area, that of the official agricultural station of Nanisana, which, on about 50 hectares, serves as a control station for the selection of varieties of rice, manioc, potatoes, legumes and trees fruit. About 5 000 Malagasy owners share 10 000 plots of paddy fields with an average area of ​​23 ares. For other vegetable and floricultural crops, there is even greater fragmentation (3 000 owners cultivate 5 000 plots, mostly clustered in Ambohimanarina and Anosipatrana). The number of professional growers in Antananarivo is estimated at more than one tenth of the population of Antananarivo ‘time.


    The third period of musical evolution in Imerina goes from the end of monarchy to independence. It thus began at the time of the French occupation. Organist Marie-Robert Rason, a chapel master of the catholic cathedral of Antananarivo in the 1950s, evokes three elements that are inseparable from music, voices, instruments and dances. Concerning the first element, nothing else is to be noted except that the completion of the evolution really damages the purely Malagasy music.
    However, despite the progress made, “Madagascan blood is bubbling and tears come to the eye” as soon as the Malagasy hears some old tunes, well preserved and sung in great circumstances. But not being legion, they become real objects of curiosity.
    “Nature seems to have been miserly towards the Malagasy in the distribution of votes. In general, their stamp is rather common. Instead of those low bass which make the hearts vibrate, you have only lean and petty baritones. And instead of those tenors that go up to the la, feel happy to find intermediate voices, between light baritone and second tenor, but dull and flabby, which climb with difficulty up to the mid or fa at most … En The real soloists do not exist, so to speak, among the Malagasy. “
    The organist adds that the Malagasy also ignore the different resources of nuances offered by the voices exercised. “They sing only of throat, mouth and nose. The voices of chest, head and falsetto are hardly known. According to him, women and children imagine themselves singing marvelously, clenching their teeth and shouting from the throat and nose: the effect is disastrous. Nevertheless, with an artistic training of which they are capable, these disadvantages are remedied.
    In a previous note, we are talking about the instruments used by Malagasy people (sodina, sea conch, lokanga voatavo, valiha, lamako, hozolahy, langoraony, ampongabe …). They are “poor” instruments, so they quickly adopt those of the Europeans. Thus the wind and string instruments, some of which are known under Radama II, are spreading thanks to Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony and, for a long time, the cornets à piston, clarinets with brilliant timbre have the favor of the Malagasy.
    The organization of the military bands and that of the Music of the General Government in Antananarivo provide pleasant concerts, the last one obtaining success with the European public, during the exhibition of Paris in 1900. In Antananarivo, a society of amateur musicians , The Philharmonic Society, which has European and Malagasy members, gives interesting performances.
    “Needless to say, the airs of European and American dances are welcomed with eagerness by the youth. “

    The favorite authors of Malagasy instrumentalists are the Hawaiians by “their tunes and sixts balancing and nonchalant, sad and nostalgic”, the Italians by the captivating charm of their serenades of love, the Spaniards especially by their tunes sometimes
    “Languidly colored” sometimes vividly syncopated. “It seems that the musical soul of these races comes across the oceans striking Malagasy inspiration. “
    The Malagasy have a great deal of facility and disposition, but most of them lack a spirit of follow-up in the work which makes the real artists, and rather than persevere, they content themselves with a little more which, For them, would be perfection. However, an elite has managed, thanks to a sustained will, to a higher musical degree. The Great Island produces some artists who have success in France. The most famous in the fifties is Gilbert Raony-Lalao, who obtains the flute prize at the Paris Conservatoire.
    It is especially in dance that the most change is discovered. The Malagasy quickly abandon their national dances. Especially the elite of the population who, at the same time that it adopts the customs and customs of Europe, engages modern dances. Only the popular mass retains the cult of the Mpilalao.
    In conclusion, Marie-Robert Rason wonders why the Malagasy composers, instead of approaching European music of medium value, the elite practicing the classics, would not seek to draw more often the subjects of their inspirations In the old melodies they neglect.


    Queen Rasoherina baptized on her deathbed, dies Catholic. Ranavalona II and Ranavalona III, they, become Protestant. When Radama II turns away, the Catholic and Protestant missions unite their efforts to react against the tendency to too much frivolity. They compose hymns appropriate to the taste of the Merina, but stamped with a certain respectability.
    Catholics or Protestants, they are especially choirs with two, three or four mixed voices, whose rhythms and melodies must be abundantly provided with thirds, sixts and singing bass, strongly in honor at Les Malgaches. “It was especially during the reign of Ranavalona II that religious music won the favor of the people,” said organist Marie-Robert, chapel master of the Catholic Cathedral of Antananarivo.
    The sovereign, the first to be converted to Christianity, loved the new religion, Protestantism, which she practiced with ostentation. Every evening, she goes to the chapel, a stone building in the south of the Manjakamiadana Palace. Three groups of singers, led by three famous conductors, perform pious songs followed by sermons. The prayer ends with a “Hymn to God to preserve the queen”.
    Like Ranavalona II, his subjects become “more religious” and “the popular music which undergoes this influence, acquires more weight”. Following the example of “Tsangambaton-dRatsida” (Monument of Ratsida) or “Tsy tany babo i Soanierana” (Soanierana is not a captive land). This last song, according to Marie-Robert Rason, does not lack grace. Moreover, it reflects the optimistic character of the Malagasy who prefer, the major mode for interpreting their feelings in the various phases of life.
    Another, rather a march, “Avy taiza ianareo,” is performed by the queen’s band when she goes to Ambohimanga, a sacred city, or to Tsinjoarivo, a royal summer residence.

    Two sentimental romances or songs, real tubes under the last two queens, are also reproduced by the organist. This is called “Ny lakantsika” and “Miera kely aminao aho ry dada ô!” (Allow me my father, to go for a walk on the banks of the Itasy …).
    At the same time, popular music gained considerable momentum, especially thanks to the Mpilalao. These folk groups consist of an orchestra comprising three to four violins, a drum, a bass drum and a group of men and women who are both singers and dancers. They are dressed in long robes, or long coats for men, with gaudy colors, red or mauve, with broad sleeves covered with braids and embroideries. The men are wearing a broad-brimmed straw hat. The meeting opens with a large kabary of the chief, in which, after having presented himself in pompous words accompanied by strong gestures and contortions, he solicits the benevolence of the public. Then, he summarizes in a harangue enamelled with proverbs, the subject that songs and dances will develop.
    At this address a drum roll followed. The chief made a great gesture. Immediately the orchestra began the prelude, during which dancers and dancers, lambed them around the loins, marching with a step which they strive to make majestic before the spectators, forming a circle. The chorus singing the singing, the dancers respond in chorus in two or three parts. The songs follow the dances, first the men, then the women. A public or private party can not do without the Mpilalao contest.
    Marie-Robert Rason summarizes the second period of Merina music. “European music, the compositions of Radama II, religious music have certainly brought new inspiration, but originality has lost. The technique of simple that it was, becomes more complex and more varied, the rhythm being more classic and more symmetrical. Inspiration, on the other hand, broadens its horizons. “The Malagasy, with its natural dispositions in imitation, can only welcome with eagerness everything that must, in astonishing it by its novelty, furnish him with themes different from those he has hitherto treated. He did not hesitate to adopt a greater lightness than encouraged the softness characteristic of the manners of that period. “


    “The airs and popular songs of a charming rusticity which in the first period had quickly spread throughout the whole island were subsequently abandoned in the Imerina. The organist Marie-Robert Rason, the chapel master of the catholic cathedral of Antananarivo in the 1950s, is responsible for the cause in Ranavalona I. After a few years of calm, he said, “she became sanguinary and persecuted those of her subjects who would not follow the practices of ancestral religion. The terror which seizes the people, stifles the germ of all musical inspiration.
    But on the death of the Queen and the accession of his son, Radama II, the music resumed with more splendor, which the organist presented in the second period of musical evolution in Imerina (1861-1895). However, the one described as truly Malagasy, disappears little by little. Two important factors contribute to this evolution towards mixed music.
    In the first place, European influence, for Malagasy, more than any other people, “by this very faculty of imitation and assimilation, which is one of its most striking characteristics,” is not slow to accept the new inspiration Of the Vazaha. Then, the influence of Radama II, which “by its frivolous naturalness” contributes largely to making music, “light, carefree and lascivious.” Laborde and Lambert, as well as some Catholic and Protestant missionaries, are in constant and friendly relations with him. He also calls them, in affectionate terms, his “ray aman-dreny” (fathers and mothers). Flattered by such confidence, the Europeans put all their talents and ingenuity into the service of the king.
    “It is reported that Laborde and Father Finaz, who had noticed Radama II’s passion for music, donated a piano (it was the first imported to Madagascar) and taught him to play the instrument. “Radama is committed to this new passion with
    fervor. Immediately his entourage, like good courtiers, hastened to incense and imitate him. The Vazaha perceiving the musical aptitudes of the Malagasy, spread a multitude of popular European songs. Their influence is also felt on the religious music that flourishes under the queens that succeed Radama II. “The result is the birth of more complex and symmetrical rhythms and melodies. “
    This European influence combines the personality of the king. “He was light, libertine and even shameless. He passionately loved music, dance and amusements. Everything that was new fascinated him, captivated him. The combination of these two contributions gives the music “a more square technique and a freer inspiration”.
    Marie-Robert Rason quotes some tunes attributed to the king. After a few piano lessons, he began composing. It will be seen how easily he assimilates the foreign taste, without excluding his own. There is first “Kalokalon-dRadama II” (Romance of Radama II). Another melody, supposedly inspired by him, is obviously inspired by English, sometimes called “Mokatejy” (My cottage), sometimes “Rahodra” (My wood). This last romance is said to be composed by the king during a walk with his friends and favorites, on the shores of Lake Tsimbazaza, in a valley to the west of the Rova of Antananarivo. The king is accompanied by a valiha. His particular style conquers the composers of his time.
    At the same time, three other tunes of unknown authors “all frivolity” make a tobacco. “There is no European who came to the island who did not retain them. Childishness, inconstancy and indifference are clearly depicted here. One of them is called “Mba hitanareo ve Raketak’izay” (Have you seen my Raketaka). We also note “Ianao Ravazaha ê! (O you Vazaha!). The song would be composed by workers who, tired out by a hard work to which they are not accustomed, go on strike and claim their bosses their wages. Finally we can not overshadow “Ketaka O! “Of a rhythm to make all lovers of public balls rise.
    Under the last three queens, Rasoherina Ranavalona II and Ranavalona III, the music
    “Frivolous” begins to become more and more serious, giving a prominent place to the spreading Christianity.