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The Kennedy Center

Toko Telo



Biography

Toko Telo is a supergroup featuring three of Madagascar’s greatest stars. Together they reinvent the musical styles of southwestern Madagascar – tsapiky, jihe, beko – with unequaled artistry. Madagascar’s most well known artist, D’Gary splashed onto the scene in a famous collaboration with David Lindley and Henry Kaiser. Their album, A World Out Of Time, featured D’Gary’s unique open-tuning guitar style. “I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears,” recounted Kaiser. Recordings and concerts followed, including tours with the International Guitar Night ensemble and banjo legend Bela Fleck. Celebrated as the “Voice of Madagascar” Monika Njava sang lead with the renowned group Njava. She recorded with platinum-selling Deep Forest and continues to perform with the band. Always adventurous, she formed Island Jazz with Zawinul bassist Linley Marthe. Monika draws on folktales and everyday village life for her lyrics, also addressing corruption, deforestation and women’s empowerment. Joël Rabesolo grew up playing the traditional four-stringed kabosy. Now the leading guitarist of his generation in Madagascar, he interprets the island’s rich array of regional styles with sophistication and extraordinary inventiveness. Entering the Brussels Royal Conservatory, he was promptly invited by his guitar professor to form a duo. Joël is a member of Monika’s band Island Jazz.

Watch Past Performances

Video 9/25/2019: Toko Telo

Toko Telo is a  supergroup bringing together three of Madagascar’s greatest stars: D’Gary, the country’s most renowned artist; national diva Monika Njava; and Joël Rabesolo, the leading Malagasy guitarist of his generation. Their music, deeply rooted in the rich musical traditions of southwestern Madagascar, is composed and performed with exquisite artistry.

Toko-Telo