WOMAD 2009 Featured Artist: Mikidache (Mayotte)
WOMAD 2009 Featured Artist: Mikidache
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Brooklands Park & TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth
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Mikidache Daniel hails from the island of Mayotte tucked between Madagascar and Africa. A singer-guitarist, he has established himself as one of the hottest new talents from the Indian Ocean region.
His lyrics urge his compatriots to stand up for their rights, his music affirms the Madagascan roots he shares with many of his musical and vocal collaborators, and his penchant for freestyle guitar chords has led him to venture into territory previously explored by the Madagascan guitarist D’Gary.
In 1975, the citizens of Mayotte organised a referendum and voted to remain French. Those who had campaigned for independence - including Mikidache’s own father - were expelled from Mayotte by their rivals, and sent off to other islands in the Comoros archipelago which had opted for independence.
At the age of 13, Mikidache started teaching himself to play guitar. He did not have his own instrument at that point. Instead, he used a guitar lent to him by the children of a Senegalese diplomat. Mikidache went on to form a group with these young musician friends a couple of years later. The group proved to be relatively successful on the local scene and ended up performing on neighbouring islands.
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In 1986, the budding young musicians gave up their studies and moved to mainland France to try their luck there. They recorded one maxi-single. After spending three years on the French mainland without managing to break onto the musical mainstream, the boys’ parents begged them to return home. Mikidache respected his parents’ wishes, returned home and began studying for his ‘baccalauréat.’ After passing his exams, he headed off to Mayotte, an island he had not revisited since his birth. He did not stay there long, however, deciding to sign up for a degree course in economic science at the University of Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France. As a student, he picked up his guitar again and began devoting an increasing amount of time and energy to music, working in a fast food restaurant to make ends meet.
After a brief period in Nice, Mikidache moved to Paris where he set about producing his debut album with the assistance of a handful of musicians. Mikidache’s debut album, "Kauli", released in 1997, went relatively unremarked.
In May 1999, Mikidache’s career stepped up another level when he won RFI’s “Découvertes” award. A jury heaped praise on his first album, “Kauli.” Winning the award opened up a whole series of new doors for Mikidache. In December of that year, he got to perform at Le Bataclan, in Paris, and a host of other concert dates followed across Europe.
When it came to working on his second album, “Hima” (released in 2004), Mikidache kept the same team of musicians he had worked with on his first album. A number of big names on the Paris music scene, including percussionist Minino Garay, drummer Brice Wassy, the Madagascan accordion virtuoso Régis Gizavo and flautist Magic Malik (who had featured on "Kauli") also came into the studio with him. This time round, Mikidache’s lyrics had a hint of the protest song about them, the singer urging his compatriots to stand up for their rights. In his songs he evoked the lifestyle of his ancestors, campaigned against polygamy and denounced the failings of the “system” in his homeland which, he claimed, openly manufactured poverty and injustice.
Mikidache has since released a third album “Mgodoro Gori” and continues to tour extensively playing at major festivals around the world.