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News & Reviews

  • Dr. John, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Cheikh Lô Make "Joyous, Colorful" Music at New Orleans Jazz Fest (Times-Picayune)

    The 2012 New Orleans Jazz Fest got under way last weekend. Carolina Chocolate Drops gave "a joyous, emotionally committed show," reports the Times-Picayune, which calls Cheikh Lô's set "as colorful and unique as his signature patchwork tunic," and notes that Dr. John sounded "newly invigorated" as on his new album, Locked Down. He also joined Bruce Springsteen on stage to help close the first weekend in style. This coming weekend sees Dr. John's return and a set from another favorite son of New Orleans, Allen Toussaint.

  • New Orleans Jazz Fest Kicks Off, Includes Sets from Dr. John, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Cheikh Lô, Allen Toussaint

    The 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, better known as Jazz Fest, gets under way today and runs through this weekend and the next at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Among the performers set to take the various stage at the festival this year are four artists familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: two New Orleans legends and hometown heroes, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, plus two artists whose unique musical styles will make them feel right at home at Jazz Fest, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Cheikh Lô.

About this Album

Senegalese Sufi musician Cheikh Lô’s first album in five years, Jamm, was released in North America on June 7 by Word Circuit / Nonesuch Records. The record received critical praise in the UK and Europe when it was released there last year, with Uncut calling it the“African album of the year,” and the Guardian saying, “Cheikh Lô is back with an album that reconfirms his position as one of the finest, one of the most soulful singers in West Africa.” In a four-star review, Q called Jamm “true global music to make anyone feel better.”

On Jamm, which means “peace” in Wolof, Lô’s mbalax rhythms and signature blend of semi-acoustic flavors—West and Central African, funk, Cuban, flamenco—support his husky vocals, sung in four different languages (English, Wolof, French, and Jula, a dialect of Bambara spoken in Burkina Faso).

For all its diversity, Jamm is rooted firmly in Lô’s own backyard, built around simple demos recorded with GarageBand software at the house of his friend and bass player Thierno Sarr. Lô’s lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion have been augmented with additional electric guitar, drums, bass, sax, and Senegalese percussion from members of his regular band. In London, further touches were added by his old friends Tony Allen (drums) and Pee Wee Ellis (sax).

Growing up with Senegalese parents in Burkina Faso near the border of Mali during the 1950s, Cheikh Lô played the musical genres of the time, including Cuban and Congolese styles. He gave his first performances as a young man in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina’s creative capital and hotbed of musical activity, and later moved to Dakar. But it was not until he made his way to Paris in 1985 that he began to build the relationships that would make up his unique musical community.

Since his first internationally distributed record, the Youssou N’Dour–produced Né La Thiass (1996), Cheikh Lô has received increasing acclaim worldwide. His last album, Lamp Fall, was highly praised; on NPR’s All Things Considered, African music expert Banning Eyre said Lô “proves himself one of the most dynamic creators in today’s African music” and the Associated Press called the record “a globe-hopping aural adventure.”


Cheikh Lô, lead & harmony vocals, guitars, congas, timbales & shaker, drums (1, 7, 8)
Thierno Sarr, bass, guitars (6-8)
Baye Manhanta Diop, electric guitar (1, 4)
Omar Sow, electric guitar (2)
Cheikh Tidiane Tall, electric guitar (3)
Pee Wee Ellis, tenor saxophone (1-3, 5, 8, 9)
Thierno Koite, saxophone (6, 9)
Wilfried Zinzou, trombone
Omar Puente, violin (6)
Tony Allen, drums (3, 9)
Daouda Ndiaye, drums (4)
Sebastian Rochford, drums (2)
Thio Mbaye, Khadim Mbaye, sabars
Samba Ndokh MBaye, tama
Dave Patman, guiro (6)
Fatou Diawara, backing vocals (1, 2, 4)

A World Circuit Production
Produced by Nick Gold and Cheikh Lô
Recorded by Thierno Sarr at his home studio, Dakar, Senegal, Abdou Caba
at Ethinic Studios, Dakar, Senegal and by Sonny at Livingston Studios, London.
Mixed by Sonny at Livingston Studios, London
Assistant engineer: Dan Ingall
Mastered by Tom Leader

Artwork by Annabella Weiss Kommunikationsdesign
Cover photograph by Christina Jaspars
Additional photography by Youri Lenquette


This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States and Canada only.

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