Toko Telo is a supergroup bringing together three of Madagascar’s greatest stars: D’Gary, the country’s most renowned artist; the national diva Monika Njava; and Joël Rabesolo, the leading Malagasy guitarist of his generation. Their music is deeply rooted in the rich musical traditions of southwestern Madagascar, composed and performed with exquisite artistry.
Madagascar’s most well known artist, D’Gary splashed onto the world music scene in the early 90s in a famous collaboration with musician/producers David Lindley and Henry Kaiser. “I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears,” recounted Kaiser later. Recording projects and concerts followed, including tours with the International Guitar Night ensemble, Miguel de la Bastide, Clive Carroll and banjo legend Bela Fleck.
Celebrated as the “Voice of Madagascar” Monika Njava sang lead with Njava, recording two critically acclaimed albums for EMI. She recorded and toured with platinum-selling Deep Forest, and formed the group Island Jazz with bass virtuoso Linley Marthe. Her lyrics draw on folktales and everyday village life. She also addresses the challenges of corruption, environmental devastation, and empowering women.
Joël Rabesolo grew up playing the traditional four-stringed kabosy. Now the most acclaimed guitarist of his generation in Madagascar, he interprets the island’s rich array of regional styles with sophistication and extraordinary inventiveness. Working closely with Monika Njava since 2012, Joël is a member of her band Island Jazz. He also records and tours as part of Malagasy Guitar Masters.