It's Friday, World Music Friday!
Today we travel to Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa.
Madagascar reflects the origins of the Malagasy people in Southeast Asia and East Africa. The influence of Arabs, Indians, British, French, and Chinese settlers is also evident.
Madagascar is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, a place whose geography and ecosystems are diverse, colorful and fascinating. In recent years the country has become increasingly modern, particularly in and around the capital city of Antananarivo. Despite this push for modernity, many of the island’s people are still practicing a form of religious ancestor-worship known as Fomban-razana.
Their spirits are believed to be active in looking after their descendants in a variety of ways. And their wishes are therefore to be respected and obeyed. This means that families and communities have various taboos/don’ts (known as fady) regarding the avoidance of certain actions, to ensure the approval of the razana.
There are three category of fady: those related to actions - for example believing it is fady to sing while you are eating and if you do you will develop elongated teeth; those related to objects - for example, the Merina will not have funerals on Tuesdays as this may bring about another death in the family. Foreigners are exempt from having to adhere to fady, although it is sensible and considerate to find out as much as possible about this in regions you are visiting so as to avoid offending people. The most classical example of fady to which tourists might be confronted is the ban on the access to burial sites.
Under the traditional beliefs, practiced by around half the people, there is one God who is neither male nor female. Some people also worship secondary gods or nature spirits, such as those which inhabit rivers or trees. It can be said that the fady has contributed much to the conservation of nature since several parts of forest and lakes were considered impenetrable as they keep the ancestors’ spirits.
Let’s now listen to a Madagascan musician called D’Gary, known for the elaborate playing style of the acoustic guitar. His style developed from his interest in Madagascan music, and has been compared to the music produced on traditional instruments like valiha and marovany. Here a song called “Mora mora”,
Have a musilicious weekend! (the picture above is from pure travel)
It is Friday, World Music Friday!
Today we travel to India, the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world.
The Indian culture often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent and is among the world's oldest, reaching back about 5,000 years. Many sources describe it as "Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara" — the first and the supreme culture in the world. Many elements of India's diverse cultures, such as Indian religions, yoga and Indian cuisine, have had a profound impact across the world.
"Unity in diversity" - it is not just another phrase or quotation. But these words are highly applicable to a country like India that is incredibly rich in culture and heritage. A few quotations or statements cannot describe the pedestal that India holds on the world map because of its colorful and unique culture. From the times of Mauryas, Cholas and Mughals to the period of British Empire, India has always been famous for its traditions and hospitality. The warmth in the relations and euphoria in celebrations make the country stand out distinctively. The country's liveliness and generosity attract a number of tourists. The cuisines, festivals, music, literature, and theatre, everything is 'special' in this 'Land of Gods'.
For an Indian, "Namaste" is a common way of greeting outsiders and elders. Both palms placed together and raised below the face not only show the respect for others but it also makes you feel the affection in the greeting others. It is for sure that no 'hello' or 'hi' can create that magic.
Indian people are also famous for welcoming with flower garlands. In Indian marriages, the exchange of garlands between bride and groom is a ritual in itself. People also offer flower garlands to gods and goddesses during their prayers.
Normally, a day in India starts with Surya Namaskar. In this people offer water to the sun and enchant mantras and prayers. Indians worship nature and this is unique about its culture. In Hindu religion, trees and animals are worshipped like gods. People believe in god and keep fast ('vrata') on many festivals. They offer morning's first fresh meal to cow and night's last meal to dog. Nowhere in the world one can find such generosity.
All the religions here start the day with morning hymns and these rich values are inculcated into the kids since childhood. Morning prayers and moral education is also a very important part of the education system in India. Here people are not judged by caste, color or creed. They are judged by their values and this is what makes India a unique place to live.
Allah-Rakha Rahman is an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, musician and philanthropist. Described as the world's most prominent and prolific film composer by Time magazine, Rahman's works are noted for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. Have a little taste with this live performance along with Jordanian singer, Farah Siraj, and Nepalese Buddhist Nun Ani Choying. This song truly brings together diverse cultures and musical genres, enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!
- Alba Serrano-Miro
It's Friday! World Music Friday!
The month of October makes us think of Germany and its people.
German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in German states has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. Historically, Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker ("the land of poets and thinkers"), because of the major role its famous writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought and culture.
Germans place a high priority on structure, privacy and punctuality. The German people embrace the values of thriftiness, hard work and industriousness. There is great emphasis on making sure that "the trains run on time."
Germans are stoic people who strive for perfectionism and precision in all aspects of their lives. They do not admit faults, even jokingly, and rarely hand out compliments. At first their attitude may seem unfriendly, but there is a keen sense of community and social conscience and a desire to belong.
The desire for orderliness spills over into the business life of Germans. There is a staunch adherence to hierarchy and decisions are often made by a small group of leaders. Meetings are highly structured, and since opinions have often been formulated beforehand, there is not much tolerance for divergent viewpoints or debate.
Workers at all levels are judged heavily on their competence and diligence, rather than interpersonal skills. Communication with co-workers as well as outsiders tends to be direct and not always diplomatic.
In the field of music, Germany claims some of the most renowned classical composers of the world including Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, who marked the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music.
A little sample here from the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach Cello Suite No. 1- Sarabande by Rostropovich.
Have a great weekend!
- Alba Serrano-Miro
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.