Anatananarivo, Madagascar


Photographer: Tolojanahary Ranaivosoa

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Emile Ramandimbisoa is a singer, story-teller and performer of hiragasy, the main musical tradition of Madagascar’s central highland regions. Using kabary – speech combining proverbs and stories of daily life – his tales entertain and educate. Sometimes he sings of those who lost everything to HIV-AIDS. Other times he tells of what went wrong when too much forest was felled, or of the headaches caused by corruption and other social problems. Now 56, he first performed hiragasy at 17 in a troupe founded by one of his uncles in a country town just over 80 kilometres from Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. In 2001, Emile moved his family to Antananarivo and founded his own hiragasy troupe.