Skip to main content

Madagascar Slim plays the Gladstone March 5

Madagascar Slim
at the Gladstone Hotel

Friday, March 5 - 7 to 10pm
Presented by Batuki Music Society

Madagascar Slim, as he's been known to blues/roots/world music fans in the Toronto area for decades, was born as Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin in Antananarivo, capital of the sunny island of Madagascar. Teaching himself to play an older brother's guitar at an early age was just the beginning of a long career.

"I grew up listeninig to a lot of music from Madagascar, traditional music. At the same time, Western music was very popular, like the Rolling Stones, Santana. I listened to that type of guitar driven music."

Salegy is the traditional Malagasy style Slim grew up with. Here's a little modern salegy if you're not familiar.

It's the kind of music that won't let you sit still, and involves really intricate finger picking - among other things.

"First, I was trying to play note for note, people I like - like B.B. King. But over time, I discovered things on my own. I came up with my own style. It's improvisational." Madagascar Slim's work is often called "bi-cultural", which sounds a little too pedantic for his infectiously likable music. "I would describe it as an amalgamation of Madgasy music, particularly the rhythmic elements, with guitar rock."

Although he's been in Canada "since the dinosaurs roamed the earth" (actually 1979 - he came to study accounting at Seneca College) it's the rhythms of his childhood that still echo most deeply. "I have a rhythm that I hear in my head that comes from Madagas," he says. "It's a different way of keeping time - the 6/8, they hear it as a jig. I hear it as Madagas."

Sweet voices and harmonies come together with that fluidly kinetic guitar playing. Along with this solo work, he's also known and been recognized for his work with Tri-Continental - Roots & Traditional Album of the Year Juno Winner in 2001 - and African Guitar Summit - World Music Album of the Year in 2005. His third Juno was won in the same category in 2000. For Slim, it's all about playing though.

"I've played in all the blues clubs in Toronto," he says, either alone or in collaboration. He's also known for his live playing with blues singer Ndidi Onukwulu. He's seen musical tastes change over the decades. "A lot of people are branching out, listening to new types of music," he says. Slim points to the influence of the internet, where more and more people are reaching out to find music that falls beyond the confines of a commercialized pop music market, along with the importance of some of the country's cultural institutions. "That's why we need institutions like the Canada Council for the Arts and the CBC - to offer an alternative."

The concert this Friday at the Glad is FREE of charge - I'll be sure to get there early.

Check out an excerpt from a documentary that followed Slim on his return to Madagascar after 25 years - and you can download his music here.


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:


New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Fall for Dance North Debuts 2020 Festival: Live + Digital Experiences Sept 29–Oct 18 2020

From a media release:Fall for Dance North Debuts 2020 Festival
Captivating Live + Digital Experiences on Newly Enhanced Digital PlatformToronto’s premier international dance festival launches curated collection of original content and proprietary programs on new custom-built websiteTORONTO, ON — Fall for Dance North (FFDN) proudly presents the 6th edition of its esteemed international dance festival, The Flip Side, from Sept. 29–Oct. 18, 2020
Featuring a new, Netflix-style digital platform, an enhanced line-up of free programming, and a ticketed signature livestream presentation featuring six world premieres by Canadian dancemakers, FFDN has reimagined the festival experience to offer audiences an intimate connection to the art form of dance during these extraordinary times.Starting on Sept. 29, free programs will be released at daily, including an original podcast, a quirky interview series in a bathtub, a poetry + music album, a new dance film featuring 46 Ryerson Schoo…