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Lamp Fall

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Audio CD, April 25, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Senegalese musical maverick Cheikh Lo's third album for World Circuit/Nonesuch, Lamp Fall, has a distinctively contemporary feel, incorporating different styles and influences while retaining the deep spirituality that is essential to Lo. Lamp Fall is undeniably upbeat, celebratory album, that weaves together a myriad of colors and textures.

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Nearly every artist in Senegal has to wrestle with the long shadow cast by the mighty Youssou N'Dour. A former N'Dour protege, Cheikh Lo is one who has staked his own claim. With a deep but still sweetly melodious and sometimes hoarse voice that is the opposite of the keening N'Dour's, Lo takes a foundation of Mbalax--an uptempo Senegalese style that mixes pop, African and Caribbean styles together in varying degrees--and adds even more. Here, on his first album in six years, a drum troop from the Brazilian state of Bahia fills out some tunes and James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis is brought in to add some peppy soul music-inflected horn parts to others. The intersection of ideas, styles, and cultures is far from smooth, but the kinetic energy created by all the influences brings a festive vibrancy to the music. Highlights include the undulating "N'Galula," the smooth ballad "Sante Yalla," and the chattering "Senegal/Bresil." --Tad Hendrickson


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 25, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000E6EHFY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,531 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. TIMMERMAN on May 11, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Fans of Cheikh get in the queue! His first album in six years, and his third solo international effort for World Circuit, is another masterpiece. It was recorded in Dakar, London and Bahia, Brazil. Like his others it is eclectic, individual and brims with joyful melodies, nicely sprung rhythms and tasteful, creative arrangements.

Cheikh Lo, from Senegal, states that the theme of the album is his Africa, a plea against war and poverty, but it's also about love, religion and spirituality. As on his previous albums there is a huge variety of African rhythms, with a little Latin thrown in as well. Apart from two that are vaguely similar, each track is a completely different adventure, from songs of praise to full-blown dance numbers.

The opening song "Sou" sounds very French with its mellow accordion, although it is sung in bambara, a Burkina Faso language. From there we proceed to some delicious funky dance tracks like "Xale" and the soukous-inspired "N'Galuia", a processional "Senegal-Bresil" conjuring up a carnival, psalm-like soulful ballads such as the evocative "Sante Yalla", a reggae "Bamba Mo Woor" and more.

There are plenty of contributing musicians yet mixes remarkably never sound crowded. In fact they range from almost understated to grandly symphonic. Many are elegantly mbalax percussion-driven, while Cheikh's wide-ranging mellifluous voice is always clearly focused whether it is intimate or passionately soaring. There is a judicious employment of wind or vocal choruses, and guitar, saxophone or other instrumental solos blend rather than project.

The warm unpretentious music always flows naturally, the ensemble playing is as tight as it gets, and the ambient recording is full and detailed. A most engaging album that will never wear out its welcome.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Sesh on April 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Excellent album from one of today's most incredible musicians. Not only does "Lamp Fall" find this West African artist embracing ancient Wolof musical traditions that reveal the Wolof as one of the primary African origins of the music of people of African descent in Cuba, the U.S., Brasil, and the Caribbean, but he re-Africanizes the music of these diasporic Africans into a rich, multifaceted, and sophisticated sound.

Though this album doesn't proceed "Ne La Thiass" in greatness, it remains a remarkable contribution to the evergrowing and complex music scene overflowing in both Senegal and Mali.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am not African, and my African music tastes are very colored by my latin music tastes, which is probably why it took me so long to look into Cheikh Lo. But here is this album with an amazing variety that in each and every track nails it.

The title track has somewhat of an American blues sound to it while Senegal-Bresil takes you to Carnival in Rio. The instrumentation changes through the tracks with accordions, saxophone, piano, flute, etc coming in different tracks. It is simply astounding the level of musicianship heard and how tight the invited artists are playing with each other.
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