Cheikh Lo Radio
From the cosmopolitan capital of Senegal, Dakar's Cheikh Lo has created his own distinct variant of popular African music. Having worked as a studio percussionist and background singer in France in the 1980s, he returned to Senegal to cultivate his own music near to the source. Basing his work on mbalax, the energetic Senegalese music popularized by Youssou N'dour, Lo adds a touch of Congolese soukous, Cuban son montuno, reggae, Flamenco, and jazz, and he sings over rhythms that are at once smooth and driving in a suave, sensuous voice. Instrumentation includes traditional Senegalese drums, guitars, Latin percussion, flute, and brass. A striking figure who sports long dreadlocks, Lo is not a rastaman but a devotee of a mystical Sufi Muslim brotherhood. His original, well-crafted songs maintain their African character while connecting with the Afro-Caribbean world at large.