"Outstanding new album.”
Tony Hillier, Rhythms Magazine
“The sweet success of Malagasy trio Toko Telo’s debut album Toy Raha Toy on its release last year turned sour when the band’s legendary accordion player, Régis Gizavo, passed away. Remaining members, guitar whiz D’Gary and soaring songstress Moniker Njava, who are among Madagascar’s most acclaimed musicians, decided the best way to honour their friend’s memory was by continuing the project. That decision accounts for Toko Telo’s swift return with an outstanding new album in Diavola and a dashing young replacement in Joël Rabesolo, who’s ranked among the best Malagasy guitarists of his generation.
“The interlocking acoustic strings of the male maestros enthrall on a collection of excellent songs that, while contemporary, are rooted in the rich traditions of one of the world’s most intriguing island nations. On pieces such as the beautiful title track and on ‘Manoro’ and ‘Oka Niny’ the guitarists gel like an Indian Ocean version of the revered UK duo of John Renboum and Bert Jansch. Elsewhere, in songs such as ‘Zaza Somondrara’, Njava’s voice soars as guitar harmonics ring delicately behind. The diva’s shaker lends propulsion to the album’s sign-off track and sole instrumental, the jaunty ‘Ndreto Zahay’.”