Madagascar Melody

Everything else you may or may not know about Tarika aside, novelty factor alone would probably dictate that anyone with even a passing interest in world music (i.e., music that seems exotic to you) make an effort to see this show. Tarika (which more or less translates as "the group") is likely the only exposure you'll be afforded to check out slightly modernized traditional music from the island of Madagascar. If you know of more, fill me in.

But since novelty doesn't carry you far these days, there's a CD, Bibiango (that one translates as "hungry beast"), available on Green Linnet Records that picks up the interest where the exoticism leaves off. Bibiango is 13 tunes about hard times, metaphoric birds and children's games that are as colorful as the co-ed group's stage costumes. With female siblings Hanitra and Noro singing precisely harmonized leads and a three-piece band behind them spilling out waterfalls of delicately picked strings and infinite chains of percussion, the whole comes across as an organic blend of town square ethnicity and African "high life" styles. Which ought to have as much chance as anything to get some of those KPFT-listening dweebs who hang at the Mucky Duck to shake their stagnating butts.

-- Brad Tyer

Tarika plays at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 1 at McGonigel's Mucky Duck. Tickets cost $10. Call 528-5999 for info.

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