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Album Review

From the great Senegalese vocalist Ismael Lo comes this album, his fourth solo effort (though it also includes a number of tracks from his sophomore release, Xiff). The horn arrangements are tight, and the combination of horns and guitar lines makes for a nice, danceable groove throughout the album. Aside from the superb instrumental work, however, Lo's voice is really the star of the album. At times able to command the full capacity of many of his African vocalist predecessors (Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, etc.), he is also capable of providing a nice, soft vocal texture to lay over the top of the instrumental end if necessary. The voice (and the mastering) has a slight echoing quality to it throughout the duration of the album, which can at times add to the feel of a ballad and at times perhaps get in the way of a quicker funk riff on the guitars. Still, it is a minor flaw in an otherwise stunning album. Anyone following the career of Lo probably already has this album, but those who have yet to hear his vocal prowess would do well to pick this one up and learn of it.


Born: August 30, 1956 in Dongo Buti, Niger

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Senegalese guitarist, harmonica player and singer Ismael Lo is a rising star of world music. With his smooth multi-textured voice and low-key folky style, he and his 12-piece band play strong, complex, percussion-laden mbalax songs that discuss important topics in Senegal ranging from racism and respect to immigration. He was born into a Muslim family in Dongo Buti, Niger, the son of a Senegalese father and Nigerian mother; they moved to Rufisque, Senegal while Lo was still quite young. His father...
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Diawar, Ismaël Lô
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