By Bijoux Raharinesa
“…I have always dreamt of being an artist.”
26 year old Malagasy singer Solofotiana Andrianarivo Ratsimanetrimana (shortened for Rivo, know under the artist name Riv O’Nat) has been living in South Africa for more than three years. Now starting his carrier as a singer, the Malagasy compositor Rivo had the privilege to open “the Festival of the Francophonie” with his band in March this year.
The young singer and songwriter left Madagascar in 2013. His career came out of nowhere he said. While studying another course, he discovered his passion for music. He then integrated the Academy of Sound Engineering based in Johannesburg. Following his dad’s footsteps, Rivo liked performing and singing at a very young age. He had participated for different school events to show his talent.
Actually doing his 3rd year in music studies, Rivo is determined to conquer a large diversity of public, form Senegal, to South Africa and finally land where his roots are, in Madagascar. He uses different languages such as French, Spanish, English and Malagasy to spread his message of love.
Apart from music, Rivo likes playing tennis and hanging out with his friends. He is family orientated and get homesick once in a while, but always put in mind his goals and objectives: “I am here to do my best and succeed”. The charismatic gentleman is determined about his started carrier, and put forward his Malagasy identity whenever he goes. The ambitious man who is ready to conquer the world does not shrink from anything. Rivo stated that music evaluates with time and can be personified, “actually, everybody can have their own version.”
Often portrayed as the “guy with the strange accent”, Rivo had never faced any racial issues in South Africa. Indeed, he embraces his culture and add that “Culture is something that has been agreed upon a community to form its identity. Music is one big aspect of that. Culture expresses the moral of a community and so does music”.
Rivo performed for the first time at the “Alliance Française” of Pretoria. He opened up the festival of the Francophonie that consists of a cultural exchange between the French countries around Africa that use French as a first or second language (Gonthier 2007, p.10).
Felling honored to represent his country, Rivo called for “firaisan-kina” through his music. It means fellowship or in a more explicit way: “standing together, working together” stated Rivo in the interview. The singer is attached to his Malagasy identity. It brings positive points towards his carrier as the audience is curious to discover more about his country, since the release of the cartoon Madagascar.
During two days, Riv O’Nat was performing in Pretoria and the spectators were all satisfied. South Africa is one of his target audience, now one goal has been achieved for Rivo, but there still a long way to go. His style of combining the languages, marked the public.
“Tomboka” as his first album’s name captured his fans attention. The cultural mixture that the singer includes in his composition resume the diversity of Madagascar. “To me, Francophonie is more of that state of being open to the world. The world has different countries with different cultures but all can be brought as one.” The singer released his first single on the 5th of April in sponsorship of the NGO “Love your neighbor Madagascar”.
Gonthier, J 2007, La Francophonie dans le monde (Francophonie around the world), Nathan, Paris.