“One of Madagascar’s true musical icons” (R2 Magazine), singer and guitarist Hanitra is making waves and on tour with her latest album “Lasa”. Her seasoned vocals rise and fall effortlessly through an ever-changing landscape as she melds tradition with contemporary issues in her songs, both in homage to all women and one woman in particular, French-Canadian singer Lhasa de Sela.
Hanitra was born in the south-central town of Fianarantsoa, a town that takes its name from the Malagasy for ‘good education’ and is in fact the intellectual and cultural capital of Madagascar. Having recorded her debut album with one of Madagascar’s leading bands Lolo Sy Ny Tariny in the late 1970s, Hanitra went onto represent her country overseas, constantly touring in France as well as concerts in Switzerland, Egypt, Finland, the USA and Australia. Hanitra is considered one of Madagascar’s most well-loved and most respected world music singer songwriters. Her latest album Lasa has been in the Top 10 of the World Music Charts in Canada for eight consecutive weeks.
She says: ‘Music... fascinates me, it shapes me, it amazes me, it invades me, it nourishes me.... it brings me beautiful meetings, sweet dreams... During my journeys, I have met extraordinary people, women whose stories have inspired me. I dedicate this album to them…’
So ‘Lasa’ is dedicated to women, each song has a story to tell, sometimes sobering, sometimes joyful and sometimes a tribute but always gloriously melodic and sensitive heart-felt vocals. ‘Miroir’ is the only song on ‘Lasa’ which is sung in French,‘We’re building ourselves by reflecting what we put inside of us...’
The album’s title track ‘Lasa’ has a double meaning, both as a Malagasy word that means to ‘go past’ and also a tribute to the Canadian-French singer Lhasa de Sela (1972-2010) who passed away before her time, tragically from breast cancer. Lhasa toured extensively with her album ‘The Living Road’ as well as playing with Lilith Fair for several years, a concert tour and travelling music festival inspired by Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan.
Hanitra was crowned Best New Artist at the Jazz and World Music Festival, Vannes 2000, France and was nominated for Best Female Voice at the Voices of the Indian Ocean.
The venue is a deliciously sumptuous sofa-filled home-crafted cinema like none other, housed in a beautiful building oozing the history both of the neighbourhood and of costume creation. Even the loos are like none other in London!! Uniquely again, a ticket entitles you to free tea/coffee. Stronger stuff is available at the riverside Mayflower Pub, only a few cobble stones away. Sands Films is an inspiringly intimate place to hear fabulous music.