Percussionist and vocalist Monika Njava grew up on the island of Madagascar in the southwest port of Morondava.
Celebrated across Madagascar as a national diva, Monika Njava was a lead singer in the award-winning group Njava, recording two critically acclaimed albums for EMI’s Hemispheres label.
She has recorded with best-selling act Deep Forest and continues to tour with the band. In 2012 she released a solo world pop album, Haizina, with musicians from three continents.
Always exploring new musical territory, in 2014 she recorded Island Jazz with bass virtuoso Linley Marthe. Island Jazz mixes traditional Malagasy music and contemporary jazz.
Monika sings in several Malagasy dialects. She draws on folktales and everyday village life for her lyrics. She also addresses contemporary themes affecting her country, such as corruption, environmental devastation, and the empowerment of women.
She is a member of the highly-respected supergroup Toko Telo. Her colleagues are two of Madagascar’s finest musicians: D’Gary and Régis Gizavo.
From South Madagascar, with Njava (Sushi Records, 1997) Vetse , with Njava (EMI Hemisphere, 1999) Source, with Njava (EMI Hemisphere, 2001) Haizina ( Anio Records, 2012) Island Jazz ( Anio Records, 2014) Toy Raha Toy, with Toko Telo (Anio Records, 2017) Diavola, with Toko Telo (Anio Records, 2018)
Njava is a group of three brothers and two sisters from Madagascar. Named after their father, a composer and idealist who believed in peace through music, these three brothers and two sisters perform Malagasy music at its most accessible and melodic.
Njava was founded at the end of 1980s, after Madagascar was able to free itself from the tyranny of military rule, ending nearly two decades of isolation. The band sings about exile, daily struggles and the environment. It also performs music based on indigenous rituals and ceremonies. At the center is Dozzy’s unique lyrical guitar style, lighting quick and fluid, with a propulsive rhythm that’s continually inventive and used exactly like a lead instrument.
The sisters provide the vocals, their smoky voices carrying a profound emotional intensity, which ranges from beautiful harmonies to laughing and rhythmic breathing to wide open shrieks. Njava’s repertoire is mostly based on the music performed at Malagasy ceremonies, however over a long period the group has forged its own sound. Simultaneously dynamic and refined, earthy and sophisticated, Njava has created its own fine line between tradition and innovation.