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Friday, March 31, 2006

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

Cheikh Lo "Lamp Fall"


"Lamp Fall," the new CD from Senegalese singer, drummer, guitarist and composer Cheikh Lo, leads off more laid back than his last release "Bambay Gueej." Starting with calm intimacy, the album ultimately bursts into passionate vocals and soaring rhythms. Lo's spirituality -- he's a member of a mysterious African religious brotherhood that sports patchwork clothes and uncut dreadlocks -- expresses itself in brilliant music at its own measured pace. But it definitely happens.

As with his first release, "Ne La Thiass" in 1996, Senegalese rhythms and superb guitar licks simmer beneath Lo's buoyant singing. His basic rhythms come from m'balax, the Senegalese musical style popularized by Youssou N'Dour (who produced his second release), but Lo adds vital sounds such as horns from James Brown saxman Pee Wee Ellis, Brazilian flute and his own taut guitar work and unique drumming.

The album travels musically farther from Africa than previous outings. Moving between the reggae of "Bamba Mo Woor," the Cuban guajira balladry of "Sante Yalla" and a flamenco-meets-m'balax combo on "Fattaliku Demb," each track is powerfully formed by Lo's intensity, making "Lamp Fall" a masterful album of celebratory and devout music.



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