Lamp Fall

Lamp Fall

4.0 1
by Cheikh Lô
     
 

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There are plenty of reasons why Chiekh Lo isn't a big star in the U.S. His name is daunting, his album titles are unpronounceable in English, his mysterious dreadlocks and patchwork duds are difficult to explain, and the obscure Islamic brotherhood to which he is devoted, even more so. What's direct about Lo is his music. Lamp Fall is insistent, instantly

Overview

There are plenty of reasons why Chiekh Lo isn't a big star in the U.S. His name is daunting, his album titles are unpronounceable in English, his mysterious dreadlocks and patchwork duds are difficult to explain, and the obscure Islamic brotherhood to which he is devoted, even more so. What's direct about Lo is his music. Lamp Fall is insistent, instantly understood funk, with a sticky New Orleans-styled bass burble and a chopping, James Brown-ed guitar attack. Horns, helmed here by JB alum Pee Wee Ellis, suggest a Southern American-Western African continuum, and it's not the only ethnomusicological position he takes. The album is a tour, embarking from Dakar and crossing into Europe with flamenco flourishes and some more contemporary soul fixations. "Sénégal-Brésil" pulls into port at Salvador, with the drums of Brazil's Ilé Aiyé. The crisscrossing popularity of Afro-Cuban music in Africa itself is nodded to on "Sante Yalla" as well. But Lamp Fall (the title invokes one of the saints of Mouridism, Lo's particular branch of Islam, the Sheik Ibra Fall) is rigorously whole in its transatlantic mash-ups. This is Senegalese pop à la Youssou N'dour (Lo's patron at the start of his career) -- but executed with a lot more flair and, well, taste. While Youssou has been listening to a surfeit of Peter Gabriel and Yes, Lo's O.D.'ed on the Meters and Funkadelic. That's not a bad thing at all, and it makes the African devotional songs on Lamp Fall strut and shout like chitlin' circuit blues.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Lamp Fall is the first international release from the Senegalese singer/songwriter and guitarist Cheikh Lô. Issued on World Circuit, it is a collection of traditional and original songs that heavily showcase his trademark mbalax drums, reggae grooves, and funky polyrhythms, with a host of colors and textures added by widely varying instrumentation. This time out, Lô goes to Brazil for inspiration -- about half the album's tracks were recorded in Bahia. Lamp Fall's opener, "Sou," is a traditional song with a radically different arrangement. It is sung in Bambara, the language Lô learned in Burkina Faso. It is a Mandinka song in origin, and comes form Mali. One can heard the Brazilian feel here in the employment of a sanfona accordion -- a close relative of the bandoneon. It is juxtaposed against a talking drum, as Lô's falsetto carries its melody -- a love song -- over. The title track was one of many recorded in Dakar and in London. Lamp Fall is a tribute to Cheikh Ibra Fall, a religious leader whose faith Lô belongs to. What's startling is the opening guitar chord, which sounds like it could have been lifted off James Blood Ulmer's Are You Glad to Be in America? Saxophone great Pee Wee Ellis blows hard and funky here against crisscrossing rhythms by Saliou Seck, accented by a Crescent City piano vamp played by Arona Barry. The Brazilian feel comes to the fore in "Satta Kaani Xeen," where castanets, wood blocks, cajon, and berimbau make up the main body of the tune lyrically and rhythmically. The band here is large, with a sitar, tama, bass clarinet, and Paulinho Andrade's flute orchestrating the melody. Ellis is heard fiercely in "Bamba Mo Woor," over the top of twin electric guitars riffing like hell, and fronting both Bigga Morrisson's Hammond B-3 and the rest of a horn section featuring Byron Wallen on trumpet and Tim Smart on trombone. The reggae groove here is deeply dread, shuffling and slipping along a bubbling bassline and Lô's sweet -- but not saccharine -- falsetto vocals. The only pure mbalax tune here is "Fattaliku Dëmb," where Lô plays a mean flamenco-style rhythm guitar part over the rolling drums and pumped bassline. It also features a fine guitar solo by Lamine Faye. In sum, Lamp Fall is a further extension of the already heady mix of styles, rhythms, and harmonics Lô has amassed over the past decade and a half. It's an utter joy in that it's so dense that most of its secrets won't be revealed until many repeated listenings are undertaken. That said, its sunny sheen and easy, airy atmosphere are intoxicating and elegant. This is early candidate for one of the best recordings of 2006.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/25/2006
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597993820
catalogNumber:
79938
Rank:
193505

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cheikh Lô   Primary Artist,Percussion,Drums,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Pee Wee Ellis   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Tita Alves   Background Vocals
Sanou Diouf   Flute,Saxophone
Angela Loppo   Background Vocals
Etienne Mbappe   Bass,Bass Guitar
Thio M'Baye   Percussion
Hilaire Penda   Bass
Fayyaz Virji   Trombone
Byron Wallen   Trumpet
Lamine Faye   Guitar
Arona Barry   Keyboards
Oumar Sow   Electric Guitar
Matt Holland   Trumpet
Madou Diabate   Keyboards
Badou N'Diaye   Drums
Bigga Morrisson   Hammond Organ
Pepe Cisneros   Synthesizer Strings
Saliou Seck   Percussion
Felipe Pinheiro de Souza   Violin
Léo Bit Bit   Berimbau,Pandeiro
Paulinho Andrade   Flute,Soprano Saxophone
Boghan Costa   Conga,Berimbau,Pandeiro,Djembe
Samba NDokh MBaye   Sabar
Davi Moraes   Guitar,Drums,Sitar
Betão Aguiar   Bass
Crispin Cerqueira   Cajon,Wood Block
Adson Santana   Guitar,Sitar,Viola
Candeal Girls   Background Vocals
Juciara Carvalho   Background Vocals
Becaye Diop   Bass
Erick Firminho   Bass,Baixo
Grupo Ilê Aiyê   Caixa,Repique,Surdo,Timbaus
Sandro Santos   Castanets,Cajon,Zabumba
Tim Smart   Trombone
Malick Sy   Bass
Thio M'Baye   Percussion
Erick Firmino   Bass Guitar
Samba N'Dokh   talking drum
Dave Okumu   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Lamine Faye   Guitar

Technical Credits

Bembeya Jazz   Composer
Jerry Boys   Engineer,Remixing
Nick Gold   Producer,Executive Producer
Cheikh Lô   Producer
Ale Siqueira   Producer,Audio Production
Marcio DeHolanda   Engineer
Flavio DeSouza   Engineer
Cristiano Lisboa   Engineer
Samba NDokh MBaye   Tama
Andréa Conceição   Studio Chief
Marie Claire Boisset Pestourie   translation
Rene Mititieri   Engineer
Don Clark   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Lamp Fall 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Senegalese-cab driver introduced me to this CD. It's a fresh blend of textures and grooves from Africa, Brazil, and New Orlens.