Toko Telo brings together a trio of musical stars from Madagascar: D’Gary, Monika Njava and Régis Gizavo. Honored at home and acclaimed abroad, these veteran performers revisit their shared southern roots, interpreting traditional musical styles – tsapiky, jihe, beko – with sublime artistry.
D’Gary, guitar & voice
Madagascar’s most well known musician, D’Gary splashed onto the world music scene in the early 90s in a famous collaboration with musician/producers David Lindley and Henry Kaiser. Their album, A World Out Of Time, featured D’Gary’s extraordinary, open-tuning playing style developed from traditional instrumental techniques. “I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears,” recounted Kaiser later. A string of international recording projects and concerts followed. More recently, D’Gary toured North America with the International Guitar Night ensemble and recorded the International Guitar Night II live album with Brian Gore, Miguel de la Bastide and Clive Carroll. D’Gary subsequently toured the US with banjo legend Bela Fleck.
Monika Njava, voice & percussion
Celebrated across Madagascar as the national diva, Monika Njava sang lead in the prize-winning group Njava, recording two critically acclaimed albums for EMI. She has recorded with platinum-selling Deep Forest and continues to tour with the band. In 2012 she released a solo world-pop album, Haizina, with musicians from three continents. Always exploring new musical territory, in 2014 she recorded Island Jazz with bass virtuoso Linley Marthe, an album that fuses traditional Malagasy music and contemporary jazz. Singing in several Malagasy dialects, Monika draws on folktales and everyday village life for her lyrics. She also addresses contemporary themes affecting her country, such as corruption, environmental devastation, and the empowerment of women.
Régis Gizavo, accordion & voice
Playing the accordion from an early age, Régis Gizavo arrived in France in 1990 after winning the Radio France Internationale “Prix découvertes”. Since then he has worked with a long and varied list of international artists, including Cesária Évora, Richard Bona, Manu Dibango, The Mahotella Queens and Boubacar Traoré. He also had a long collaboration with the renowned Corsican group I Muvrini, performing hundreds of shows around the world. As the BBC’s John Lusk put it, “Régis Gizavo seems to be able to mould his instrument to almost any style.” His spectacular playing has won him a following far beyond the accordion audience. He launched his most recent solo album, Ilakake, as the star artist at the Nuits de Nacre festival in Tulles.