She is only fifteen. With her frail posture, shy smile and drooping shoulders, she looks like an average Malagasy school girl. Modest, timid, sweet. She is wearing a simple black dress with a bow tie on her back, and shiny sandals with low heels.
She has been invited to sing at a Christmas party hosted by John and Jen, American friends. A small orchestra of musicians in black suits with classical instruments is present too. A real Christmassy atmosphere. Then the girl starts to sing 'The First Noel'. She hardly opens her mouth while singing but WOW...she sounds like a CD! Or better...it's like the Susan Boyle-effect.
It's true..the Malagasy people are extremely talented for music. Every Sunday you can hear hundreds of thousands of people in their best outfits singing beautifully in church choirs all over the country. In every family there is at least one person who plays guitar or piano. Karaoke bars are frequently visited. Singing is part of the culture here; it's in the genes.
|One of the many many choirs in Madagascar|
The girl then starts the Ave Maria. Goose bumps run over my arms! It is out of this world how she sings, her voice deep and steady, yet so seemingly effortless. Her Enya performance is equally spectacular.
I talk to her afterwards. She says she's 'just' a girl who sings in church, and how much she enjoyed singing for us.
I wish there was a Malagasy version of American Idols, or Mada Has Talent, so that Simon Cowell could 'discover' her. Not like Susan Boyle at the age of 50 but at 15...what a joy she can bring for many more years to come.
Merry Christmas everybody!