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The effect on first hearing is positively spine-tingling—and it gets better with every play. Astonishingly assured for a debut. Warm and intimate with a spiritual quality.
Having developed his own loping rhythm, with reggae basslines and hyperactive talking drums, the Dakar-based [Lô] keeps alive the old West African adaption of Cuban music, yet adds plenty of international flavor.
Cheikh Lô’s music is a unique blend of African styles (most notably Mande, Wolof, and Congolese) infused with the Cuban music that was so popular in his youth.
Born in 1955 in Burkina Faso’s second city, this passionate Senegalese man took his first orchestral steps with Volta Jazz. The ensemble, one of the best in post-independence West Africa, revisited Cuban song, classics from the Congolese artist Tabu Ley Rochereau, and created Creole-style dance pieces. There were twelve of them, behind the saxophonist and singer Mostapha Maiga, all ages, all ethnicities, all nationalities. Lô is a child of this Africa—an enthusiastic, Sahelian creative.
Lô’s unique voice, cosmopolitan, graceful, slender and high-pitched, and at times pulsating irregularly, can also switch suddenly to the bass line of Afrobeat. Starting out as a drummer and playing with various groups through multiple genres, Lô has demonstrated his musical skills and shows no signs of slowing down.