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Madagascar

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Monika Njava

Growing up on the island of Madagascar in the southwest port of Morondava, Monika Njava was one of fifteen siblings in a very musical family. She began performing when she was fourteen. Heading south to the larger city of Tuléar at eighteen, she started her own group. She also opened a small “snack” with live music. This eventually grew into a real club, Galeha Dance, remembered in Tuléar to this day.

With the release of the hit “Mausolée”, Monika became a national celebrity. An attack on the money and power of elites, it was banned by the government. But this didn’t stop her from touring the entire island and becoming known as Madagascar’s greatest singer.

Moving to Europe in 1991 she and four siblings formed the group Njava, with Monika on lead vocals. A big break came in 1992 when Njava won the Prix media from Radio France Internationale. This led to a world tour of major festivals and a contract with EMI. Two superlative albums were released, Vetse and Source. Meanwhile, Monika began recording and touring with the platinum-selling group Deep Forest.

In 2013 she completed a world-pop solo album, Haizina. Singing in several Malagasy dialects on this album, Monika draws on traditional tales and everyday village life for her lyrics. She also addresses contemporary themes, including violence against women, political corruption, and the environmental devastation of her country.

Monika's most recent project is Island Jazz, a collaboration with the bass virtuoso from Mauritius, Linley Marthe.

“Monika Njava as high priestess. She quickly conquered the hall with stunning theatricality.”
L’Express de Madagascar

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