Olombelo Ricky

Ricky is a most gifted and popular singer in his native Madagascar where he is known as 'Olombelo Ricky' ('Ricky, the human being'). The local press has reported him as the phenomenon of 'Rickymania'.

The Story

Ricky is an expert in traditional Malagasy music, but mainly works with an electric band made up of some of thebest musicians on the island, playing a mixture of vako-drazana folk and jazz they call vakojazzana. In 1995, Ricky met the Swiss band Patent Ochsner and their manager Christian Siegenthaler who gave Ricky the opportunity to record an album. The six Malagasy musicians flew to Switzerland, where they recorded sixty minutes of music. When Robert Trunz heard the tape, he noted the similarity of some of the sounds to Brazilian music and asked Airto Moreira to join Ricky. Ricky came to Brownhill Farm Studios during the summer of 1997 and worked on the tapes of his debut album with Airto Moreira. Together they completely re-build the tracks with contributions by Suzan Hendricks, Mabi Thobejane and Diana Moreira who were also staying at Brownhill.

PedXulu is the United South African Tribal Gathering – united to showcase the country’s most talented drummers and percussionists forming the rhythmic carpet for the many musical art forms ranging from the jive of Township Jazz to organic club rhythms and songs influenced by the many traditional and sacred tribal sounds of ancestral Africa.

PedXulu is a revolving and changing gathering headed by Pedi veteran master drummer Mabi ‘Gabriel’ Thobejane joined by his 23-year-old cousin Thabang Philip Tabane (Malombo), Bernard Sibusiso Mndaweni and members of the legendary percussion and marimba group Amampondo, Mandla Lande, Simpiwa Matole, Michael Ludonga, Duke Norman & Dave Mayakane. Guest performances by Olombelo Ricky (Madagascar), trumpet player Byron Wallen (U.K.) and Ivan Mazuze (Mozambique).

FOREST JAM is an educational non profit organization and its members are mainly young music students,music teachers, veteran master musicians, music business experts and administrators from Southern Africa and Switzerland. The brainchild of Robert Trunz, FOREST JAM’s educational drive includes music forms with the emphasis on traditional African music and teaches awareness of the musical heritage of countries in Southern Africa. The original FOREST JAM Club was founded and is registered in Switzerland and has since organised two major educational events in Switzerland (2014) with Ricky’s participation. Forest Jam had further gatherings in Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa in 2015 and 2016.

OLOMBELO RICKY joined the Swiss event as a teacher and mentor together with Madala Kunene, Richard Edwards, Frank Magongwa, Bafana Nhlapo, Michiel Westerhuiz and Rolf Schimmermann.


After a 3 months observation period and stay in Madagascar with Olombelo Ricky at the end of 2014, the decision was taken to hold a FOREST LAM gathering in 2015. Initiator Robert Trunz and co-director Matthias Abaecherli returned to Madagascar in March 2015 for a 6 weeks gathering with local and international students led by professionals.

Back to top