Taking a turbo-charged, highly proficient approach to the accordion, Regis Gisavo has brought excitement to the music of Madagascar.
Accompanied by the percussive rhythms of his longtime collaborator David Mirandon, Gisavo has created an energetic dance music that encompasses elements of Portuguese and South African music as well as the modern tsapiky music favored by southern Malagasy electric bands. In a description of Gizavy's music, Rootworld wrote, "a blend of styles from around southern Africa, strapped down roots music that, while clearly intending to be "pop," hangs on to the sources for dear life." Raised in a family of 13 children, Gisavo was fascinated by the accordion at a very young age. Although he attempted to play his father's melodeon at the age of six, he was discouraged by his father who preferred that he concentrate on school work. Although he initially succumbed to his father's wishes and attended university, Gisavo continued to be drawn to music. After playing with a series of amateur bands, he left his academic studies behind to perform with Malagasy pop singer Landy and a group featuring guitarist D'Gary. Moving to Paris in 1990, Gisavo joined a jazz band, Boho Combo. Placing first and winning a large sum of money in the RFI Decouvertes Competition, he bought his first accordion of his own. After performing as a sideman for Manu Dibango, Ray Lema, and los Tetes Brulees, Gisavo joined a Corsica-based band, I Muvrini. Shortly after performing on an album by D'Gary, Gisavo signed a recording contract with French label Indigo/Label Bleu. His debut album, Mikea, was released in 1997. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi