Vermont Arts Council

I am a Vermont Artist: Mikahely

In his home country of Madagascar, Mikahely is a renowned musician and guitarist. He has performed throughout the island, has toured Europe, and is featured in the documentary Guitar Madagascar.
Mikahely’s band, Mika & Davis–two vocalists backed by drums, electric guitar, and bass–played to thousands of adoring fans. They drew upon traditional basesa rhythms of Madagascar’s east coast, fusing them with jazz and other genres to create a unique style.

Since moving to Vermont in 2018, Mikahely has been performing as a solo act. He’s received rave reviews for his haunting melodies and his technical skills on the guitar and the valiha, a traditional Malagasy instrument crafted from bamboo. His vision is much larger, though. He hopes to form a new band and start touring in Vermont and throughout the Northeast.  
Mikahely shared his thoughts about being a Vermont artist.  
How has living as an artist in Vermont affected your creative process?

Living in Vermont has been very positive for my creative process. I get to meet many different musicians of different genres. It is a completely new experience for me. Communicating in another language also pushes me to expand. The long winter offered quiet solitude, though I am enjoying the spring and summer!

What is something about your art that has changed over time?

Music is my passion; my music is constantly evolving and re-inventing itself. I do a lot of improvisation when I perform. A lot of what comes out on stage is being created in the moment! It just flows from my heart to my hands.

What is your vision for the next several years?

My goal for this year is to finish my next album. In the next few years, I hope to start touring more as a world musician, spreading my messages to greater audiences in Vermont, New York City, Montreal, and beyond. I also hope that some of the talented musicians that I have worked with from Madagascar can come on tour with me at some point.
Hear Mikahely’s music.
Read (or listen to) a VPR story about Mikahely.
Watch a video of Mikahely’s band in Madagascar.
See Mikahely perform at the BCA Summer Concert Series.

The “I am a Vermont Artist” series explores how artists’ creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age. Covering all artistic disciplines, and a range of backgrounds—from New Americans to the state’s first residents—we hope to amplify voices that deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Vermont artist.

Visit the series archive.