Some of you may have seen my “Artisan” series of mini-documentaries. The plan was to highlight different occupations in Madagascar’s informal sector that involve a specialized skill. Jobs that don’t really exist in the West, with detail that may even surprise some people in Madagascar. I didn’t expect the project to take over two years!
In this final (is it?) episode, I chat with the carpenter and multi-talented musician, Raymond Randriamiarisoa, who provided the soundtrack that has been used throughout this series, played on a valiha, or a kind of zither, that is considered Madagascar’s national instrument. He also makes other instruments out of bamboo and other materials, and he plays them all expertly.
The film has some sections that are a bit hazy or noisy, but since I left Madagascar more than a year ago, I can’t exactly go and re-shoot. But I am pleased to finish this series before I head off to journalism school to learn how to do this professionally, instead of as a hobby. OK, obsession.
As a preview, here is a short clip of Randrina (as he calls himself) playing another of Madagascar’s traditional instruments, a type of banjo which can be purchased for very little from Madagascar’s many roadside stands. And then I hope you’ll check out the actual mini-docu, either on YouTube or Vimeo. Be sure and maximize the resolution your internet provider can handle – best results on Vimeo.
Thanks throughout this series to Raymond Randriamiarisoa for the soundtrack(s); to Safidy Andrianarisoa for helping me find the stories, translating on the spot, and shooting some of the video; to Anne Daugherty for her advice, shooting some of the video, and overall support; and to my language instructor Tiana Razanalivaoarijaona, for translation and corrections.
On to new adventures!