MADAGASCAN musicians Toko Telo will bring down the curtain on Making Tracks world music showcases at the National Centre for Early Music, York, on April 20.

"Very sadly this will be the last of the Making Tracks concerts here as they didn’t get their Arts Council grant," says NCEM director Delma Tomlin. "It's a real pain for us and of course for Making Tracks, who are devastated.

"We've been welcoming them here since September 2010, and though we’ll carry on with world music, I’m sad for Making Tracks as they have been very creative in their choices."

Well subsidised to draw attention to world music's blossoming talents, Making Tracks concerts were well supported at the NCEM but less so elsewhere among some of the 12 participating venues, despite such initiatives as Buy One Ticket, Get One Free for a second Making Tracks concert each season.

"We were an honourable exception," says Delma, whose programme for 2018 presented Haitian voodoo musicians Chouk Bwa on February 21 as well as Malagasy-speaking supergroup Toko Telo later this month.

Toko Telo – their name means "group of three" – combine the soulful vocals of Monika Njava with the guitar tapestry of D’Gary and Joël Rabesolo, the latter having joined the trio after original member Régis Gizavo died from a heart attack last July. Together they revisit their shared southern island roots by reinterpreting such musical styles as tsapiky, jihe and beko.

York Press:

Monika Njava: "the diva of Madagascar"

Vocalist Monika Njava is "the diva of Madagascar", having won awards for her work with the group Njava and recorded vocals with the chart-topping group Deep Forest. Guitarist D’Gary burst onto the world music scene in the early 1990s in a collaboration with musician/producers David Lindley and Henry Kaiser and has toured with banjo luminary Bela Fleck. Guitarist, vocalist and percussionist, Joël Rabesolo has toured with acclaimed bassist Linley Marthe.

Toko Telo played the WOMAD festival last year when their debut album, Toy Raha Toy (Here It Is), reached number one on the Transglobal World Music chart, number ten in the World Music Charts for Europe in October and number seven in the Transglobal World Music Chart’s Top 100 for 2017. The album was voted the 19th best of the year by fRoots Magazine in Britain too.

The Making Tracks tour coincides with the March 23 release of Toko Telo's second album, Diavola (Moon), on Anio Records. Hear the songs live in York at the NCEM on April 20: the perfect chance to celebrate the musical bridge-building contribution of Making Tracks.

Through the years they have brought to York the likes of Le Trio Joubran, from Palestine; Ahmed Dickinson & Trio Mestizo, from Havana, Cuba; Lo Cor de la Plana, from Marseilles, France; Grupo Lokito, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Not forgetting Trio Da Kali, from Mali, West Africa; Pascuala Ilabaca & Fauna, from Chile; Mariana Sadovska, the "Ukrainian Bjork", and Cigdem Aslam, an Istanbul vocalist equally adept at singing in Turkish and Kurdish, Greek and Bulgarian, Roma and Judeo-Spanish Ladino.

Farewell and thank you, Making Tracks. What a shame you are now forced to make tracks to the exit.