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Musicians unite to fight logging in Madagascar

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Environmental activism: Singer-songwriter Razia Said organized

Singer, songwriter and environmental activist Razia Said hopes that  awareness raised by the “Wake Up Madagascar” tour will help end illegal logging of the rainforest in her home country.

“This is our best way to express ourselves,” says Said, who appears at Yoshi’s on Tuesday with fellow Malagasy musicians Jaojoby, Saramba and Charles Kely in a benefit concert presented by Rainforest Action Network.

The performers, who play a soulful, rhythmic brand of music from Madagascar called salegy, also appeared in the successful “Wake Up Masoala” festival in Madagascar’s Masoala rainforest in October.

That concert drew an audience of 10,000 and prompted residents of neighboring communities to plant 20,000 trees in an area that, according to activists, loses 1,000 trees per day due to illegal logging.

“The removal of trees from our land creates desertification, which in the long term will make Madagascar a poorer place,” says Said, adding, “We encourage people to help with replanting trees in our national parks that are being looted.”

In efforts to raise worldwide awareness about illegal logging — which stems from demand from international buyers — Said has been working since January with environmental groups including the Environmental Investigation Agency and Friends of the Earth. They are coordinating a campaign to urge lawmakers and suppliers to support the  Lacey Act, which prohibits trading illegally sourced wood.

If you go: Wake Up Madagascar

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