Ismaël Lô

Dabah

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A seventh album from Ismaël Lo (in the Americas at least). Here, he provides a nice album of vocals and guitar work created in the studios of Dakar and Paris, as is so often the case with Senegalese artists. The album starts out with a powerful vocal showpiece in "Aiwa," followed by a light song in French. Following is the dancehall-worthy "Biguisse," with its thick beats, followed by the slower "Amoul Solo" and the heart-wrenching title track. The next two tracks bring the urban groove back, and the invocation of a democratic Africa presents a distinct Latin flavor. "Diour Sani" and "Badara" show off more guitar work from Ismaël Lo, as well as a bit of harmonica in "Badara." "Ma Dame" brings a loping, reggae-like beat, and "N'Dally" returns the Parisian dance sounds. "Xalas" shows a more chaotic, rhythmic side to Lo's composing, and "Mam" follows it up carefully, keeping in the same tone and even repeating a bit of the chorus. Punchy horns and a complex beat serve the listener a treat on the way out of the album. Throughout, it's a worthwhile album, showing a multitude of sides to Lo's songwriting abilities. For a newcomer to Senegalese music, there are two people who need to be heard: Youssou N'Dour and Ismaël Lo. This album covers half of that spectrum quite well. Pick it up for a look into the trend and, more importantly, a generally enjoyable listen.

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