Madagascar Slim Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 12

Madagascar Slim Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 12
Photo: Kevin Jones
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Holding down the middle portion of a showcase celebrating a quarter-century of Afrofest inside the Gladstone Ballroom, Juno Award-winning singer/guitarist Madagascar Slim was equal parts charm and flare as he offered up a taste of the talents that that have earned him so much music community esteem. Moving between songs dedicated to the political strife and environment devastation of his homeland, and spirited tunes about the quirky traditions of Madagascan lovers, Slim's compositions never relinquished their playful spirit as the gifted musician filled each opening with his unique, winding guitar workouts. Mid-song jams helped to spread the set's light and lively air around the room, with the singer and supporting drummer and bassists at one point huddling together in a sort of impromptu dance circle, each testing the other with their individual stylized skills. Slim broke free from the largely folk-rooted set list to slip into a bit of the heavy blues that has also helped to build his name, firing off one final devilish guitar solo to wind up a tight little showing by the celebrated Canadian-Madagascan folk star.