CHEIKH LO / “Bambay Gueej”

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2008 at 11:48 pm and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “CHEIKH LO / “Bambay Gueej””

Karima Says:
April 7th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

As one of your faithful listeners from way back in Dakar Senegal, last week’s set provided literal hours of musical journeying for my family of literal African Americans. I thought to myself, it can’t get any better than this – Stevie and Senegal? My two passions, my two halves brought together in rhythmic celebration?

And then, ya’ll topped yourselves by offering week 2! God Bless ya’ll brothers, you are doing mighty, mighty work. You are one of the few places in cyberspaces where the Black world always meets in celebration! And the story you tell of salsa and mbalax is my own family’s story. Salsa being the music of my mother’s generation of post independence cross pollination flavor. Somewhere in the seventies (about the time my Senegalese mother had settled in Harlem NYC with my Caribbean father), the salsa rage was still the sets that connected her with the Afro Puerto Rican/Cuban/Dominican communities we were living amongst. I remember as a young girl feeling their absolute shock and delight at the mighty distance music was traveling. Likewise, I remember how much of Stevie’s always on time ballad stirred in my mother a beautiful burgeoning sense of connection to this new place she was calling home…

By the time my (now divorced) mother returned with us to Dakar in the 80’s, mbalax had taken over, and Youssou Ndour and his Super Etoile were all the rage. Salsa was seen as the music of the post colonial elite – the soundtrack of all things imported if you will. The music of access and nepotism, whereas the fees to get into the clubs where mbalax were playing, well… we know who was there and wasn’t. The riddims were fast, and the dances were dirty and required the skills of a generation of young folks reaching past salsa to something else. Mbalax brought with it a pride in what it meant to be Senegalese.

Katharina Kane writes about this I believe on her liner notes to Orchestra Baobab’s newest album.

Without making this too long, please know that Senegal, despite so much transition is integrating both aspects of itself, Pape Faye has weekly sets where the dance floor is always packed, and well any dj worth his weight, at either house party or club knows that the expectation is to rock multi flavored sets of both salsa and mbalax at party pitch before turning to – can you guess… hip hop! And not the local kind, either.

Djere dieuff (righteous thanks), brothers, for keeping not only my fam but the global Black fam connected. Your space is one of the few where the Black world meets in celebration. We can hardly wait to see you on this side of the Atlantic soon… Perhaps a New Year’s dj Kalaamu/Mtume party on Goree Island?

rich Says:
April 11th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

a lovely quote to open your reflection on Lo’s music. when I first saw him perform live, each song unfolded like a fresh chapter in a very cool book on the evolution of african music. the funk and grooves were undeniable, but as you danced extra beats and rhythmic hooks emerged which continually challenged and delighted. the traditional influences were there, but it was so obviously something new being forged. somebody spoke recently about playing, dancing or grooving to music as being one of those few times where your head, heart and body are fully engaged in something beautiful. that seems particularly true for this man’s music

The Magnificent Goldberg Says:
May 9th, 2008 at 10:32 am

I missed this earlier. Just a couple of quick observations. The remark that Cheikh Lo’s second K7 was unreleased because he didn’t think it was good enough is something you picked up off a sleeve note – I think from the CD release of “Ne la thiass”. Not true. Like “Doxandeme” his first, “Dieufdieul” was issued on the Audio Video label. I have K7 and CD copies of both – but “Dieufdieul” is very rare in K7 form. Perhaps it was issued and withdrawn by Robert Lahoud, the French guitarist who appears to have owned the label.

I saw Cheikh Lo live in St Louis, Senegal in 1997. His performance was completely different to how he comes over on “Ne la thiass” and subsequent albums, which are somewhat meditative and very subtle. He was absolute dynamite! Little Richard could NOT have stood on the same stage! I saw him a couple of years later in London and he was as you hear him in his Jololi recordings.


The Magnificent Goldberg Says:
May 9th, 2008 at 10:39 am

PS Cheikh Lo used to play drums in Ouza’s band. Along with Grant Green, Ouza is my all time favourite musician. Ouza named his son Cheikh Lo. He plays keyboards in Ouza’s band now.


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