You have probably heard of Toto, the cute baby animal that sings and dances on the television. You might even have seen him or her on an adult soap opera. But what is the story behind the funny little baby monkey? And why does he have a place in many peoples lives?
To tell the truth, Toto is more than a mere cartoon character. He is an icon of African art, literature, and music. That’s right – according to the University of Minnesota’s MHA in Social Work, toto appears in more than 400 illustrations, comic books, and a number of literature including children’s books, fairy tales, magazines, comics and more. That makes him the most popular monkey on the African continent!
According to the American rock band Blondie, toto was their secret monkey character when they first started performing as a band in the 1980s. They were trying to make a more “nuanced” musical style, and they discovered that toto’s vocal range and ability to sing “in both languages”. Eventually, the bandmates decided to change the name to Toto, replacing the hard rock sound with a more mellow sound, and making Toto’s voice deeper and more mellow. This was the start of their successful worldwide touring and recording career. From there the band went on to have four more hits in the U.S.
It wasn’t until their fourth album, “A Better Way”, that Toto began to gain a reputation outside of the world of hard rock and heavy metal. Their distinctive voice became known in the U.S. by a singer-songwriter named Robin Thome. Robin Thome made a name for himself as a country music artist, performing with other artists such as Cowboy Joe, Dusty Springfield, and Johnny Cash. He has also created a whole new sound and style of his own, called “Eagles” which has become hugely popular in the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world.
Over the years, Toto has had a variety of different people portray the lead characters in their songs, and in most cases, Toto is shown as the good guy, wanting to maintain peace among the various tribes. In some Toto lyrics, you can even hear the words, “Save the Children” (a reference to AIDS), as well as, “Make Her Happy” (to express the desire to conceive a child). Many Toto lyrics are about the themes of love and relationships. With the success of the band’s worldwide tours, the question of who is actually singing these words has been frequently raised.
Although Toto did record a few more albums after their split from The Rolling Stones, the exact number is unknown, and their career was fairly short. However, in numerous interviews with other musicians, it is obvious that Toto’s original vocalist, Okoumegae, did indeed continue to perform with the band. Indeed, Okoumegae is still seen as the singer of many of Toto’s earlier hit songs, such as, “Trouble” from Africa, and “I’m Still In Love” from The Rainbow, “Haitian Divorce” from tracker, and “Touch Of The Beloved” from Africa.
Today, Toto is best known for their music, but they have also released a large number of films. The Ring of Doubt, for instance, was centered on the story of a man who falls in love with an African woman, and Toto did provide the original voice of the lead character, Vinnie Barbarino. Another popular Toto film is the Kung Mangai movie, which starred Jackie Chan as the martial arts master who sought to vanquish all of the evil Chinese in the movie. Other Toto films include, The Way To Paradise, The Private Life Of Buddha, and Who Are We? You can see all these movies online.
Perhaps one of the most well-known Toto voice actors is Kiarae Walton, who provided the voice of the female warrior in the Kung Mangai movie. She has since gone on to voice a number of animals in video games, and even appeared in the animated series, Kungurama. However, the most notable contribution of Toto to modern day Japanese instrumentalists is that of Yuiitsu, who is a member of Toto and has gone on to fame and fortune. Yuiitsu sings about a girl who is so beautiful that she is able to seduce the dragon, Shaozu. Shaozu agrees to allow Yuiitsu to live with him in his home, but when he discovers that she is a cypress-scented singer who performs a flamenco guitar, he is not able to accept her. Thus begins the legend of the great Yamaha player, Yuiitsu.