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Nofy Be

Vezo People

Morondava, west coast of Madagascar

Nofy Be (Big Dream) is a unique four-piece band formed by the Vezo sailers of Nofy Be voyaging boat, a traditional gaff-rigged schooner made by the Vezo people, a Botsy in Vezo.

They spend more than half of their lives on the sea, just like thousands of other Vezo peoples. A simple Kabosy melody with some plastic tub or water bottles as shakers, along with their original singles, they have a truly Madagascan grassroots feel with a taste of wild Mozambique Channel.

Back in Jan' 2017 on the west coast of Madagascar...

Back in our first visit to Morondava on the west coast of Madagascar, when we first heard about the Vezo people, the nomadic seafarers who still spend most of the time at sea, a journey back here was imagined.

Our thoughts brought us back here 7 months later, finding ourselves sailing on the Mozambique channel with the Nofy Be crew, hearing the Vezo sailers singing with their unique double time fast beats accompanied by the Kabosy and waves.

I still have a clear memory that one night a storm came while we were finishing our dinner. The captain suddenly shout out some words, but before everyone could plan the next step, a huge wind hit the boat and everything on the dinner table was blown away. It was then followed by torential rain, and the whole boat was shaking. It's hard not to feel scared and there were moments I just feel so alone, so far away from the dry land. That night, I tried to imagine the time when their ancestors  sailed from Borneo to Madagascar, crossing the Indian ocean on outrigger canoes. How confident and bravery they must have been to make this decision? And how advanced the technology was, to support them in the journey. That must be knowledge we could all learn from.

We spent five days on Nofy Be, sleeping on the sea, watching them pull up and drop down the sails and navigate. Our destinations were somewhere only the Vezo people know, some villages only can be accessed by boat. Their music was for sure the soundtrack of this adventure and a lifestyle of sourcing from the sea, being humble, and to live with nature in harmony. 

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