Music, Dance and Nightlife
Funky lemurs and clunky dancing



Popular Malagesy music at the moment is irrepressibly happy and excruciating on the ear, akin to what would happen if The Wiggles took a whole lot of speed and decided to play each other’s instruments. And there’s even always someone who looks like Jeff the pirate.

Lyrically the music seamlessly and meaninglessly wobbles between Malagesy, English and French, with heartfelt lyrics such as “I love you, mademoiselle…she’s just a friend, she’s just a friend”.

The appropriate video clip should be filmed in your mate’s backyard using a handicam, and always feature five guys wearing identical denim outfits and one main singer in a sleeveless leather jacket. Sometimes dancing lemurs are involved, but not always.

The required dance style is to hunch shoulders over and make that you’re filling an ice-cream cone using a soft-serve machine installed in your rectum. Then pretend that a bee stings your leg and see what happens. The hands meanwhile should flap like that episode of Skippy the kangaroo when she gets a palsy.

It is not advised to deviate from this style. Indeed, only the most intrepid dancer should dare attempt recreating the ‘funky lemur’ dance (only recently pioneered in Antsirabe), whereby the practitioner leaps sideways across the entire floor, pausing momentarily to nibble on the leafy potplant inexplicably placed in its centre.

On the remote island of Ile Aux Nattes, separated by a narrow stretch of water south of Ile St Marie, accessing Saturday night entertainment requires you to navigate a goat track through a rice paddy, then wade a knee-deep swamp for 10 minutes pushing floating zebu turds away with your knees.

The destination, Casa Bebe discotheque, is a two-storey hall on a hillock amidst towering palms and overlooking paddy fields. As with every disco, gangstas in parachute pants, bandannas and G-Unit singlet tops loiter outside. With the DJ spinning Malagesy and Western pop tunes, the only reason to stay is in vain hope that the swamp might be slightly shallower on the way home.   

In Antananarivo, the nightclub Indra is ‘free’, though you have to buy a drink. This place is so seedy that even the chair arms like to touch you. Couches are fenced off from the dance floor with a melded iron barrier, and heavy chains hang from the ceiling. Not so the prostitutes – sometimes an entire wall seems decorated with boobtubes, happy pants and scrunchies, until you look closer and realise that it just winked at you.