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Jammu Africa
Ismaël Lô
Jammu Africa
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Ismaël Lô
Title: Jammu Africa
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Disc Az France
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 11/1/2006
Album Type: Import
Genres: World Music, Pop
Styles: Africa, Europe, Continental Europe
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 044006793924

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CD Reviews

One of my favorites
Ralph Titus | New York State | 02/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a deceptive album that may, at first, sound basic, but with each listen I hear something -- rhythm or harmony or a vocal line or a melodic run -- that I didn't hear before. The reason for the purchase, at first, was the duet with Marianne Faithful, a haunting melody. I didn't pay a great deal of attention to the rest. On second hearing I recognized how varied and complex his music is in melody and in rhythm -- from French ballads to Latin to African. It's a good listen, and good stuff to improve your spirits."
Accomplished and soulful, graced by Marianne!
Pieter | Johannesburg | 07/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Four and a half stars! The title track that opens the album is meandering, intense and mournful like a torch song. The expressive solo voice occasionally reaches into the higher registers, juxtaposed against the stable baritone backing vocals. Both the catchy numbers Sofia and Nafanta are uptempo pop with lilting rhythms and addictive melodies, the type of African pop I associate with e.g. Ray Lema, Kasse Mady and Tabu Ley Rochereau. Other light songs like Samba et Leuk and Takou Deneu have intricate percussive patterns.

West African artists like Baaba Maal, Salif Keita and Youssou N'Dour have a special gift for a type of melodious "southern soul" ballad, and Ismael Lo too. My favorites include Tajabone with its lovely flow and distinct country feel, Nabou which is embellished with atmospheric synthesizer infusions and charming female backing vocals, Lotto Lo, melancholy with a typical folk or singer/songwriter feel about it and Souleymane, this one in a pop-rock vein starting slowly & gently and then developing into an impressive power ballad. All of these are outstanding tracks in delivery, melody and arrangement.

The rhythmic texture on Raciste is most appealing and Dibi Dibi Rek, the huge hit with the addictive hooks remains as charming as ever. Khar resembles Jammu in style as a type of torch song. The real Wow, however, is the duet with Marianne Faithfull! I've been a devoted fan of hers for many years; in my opinion this is one of her most successful collaborations ever. Their voices blend and diverge stirringly on this tender and haunting song, resonating to the same emotions within the scope of a shared or overlapping vocal timbre. The blend of languages also contributes to the magic. This song alone would have made Jammu Africa essential; fortunately the entire album consists of beautiful songs and sounds.
Soulful, tuneful & stirring
Pieter | Johannesburg | 07/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This album grows on you. It's not immediate, so at first listen not all the beauty and appeal are evident. But with every subsequent spin you'll discover more of its rich variety which includes 3 distinct styles. The first is the catchy uptempo pop song of which Nafanta and Sofia are great examples; there is a resemblance to the soukous style of artists like Tabu Ley Rochereau and Ray Lema. The hit Dibi Dibi Rek is a tad slower but has highly addictive hooks whilst the rhythmic texture of Raciste is exceptional. Percussive tracks like Samba et Leuk and Takou Deneu represent a subgroup of the pop style possibly influenced by Nigerian music like that of King Sunny Ade.

The slow, often mournful, melodious ballad is the second type. All of these have beautiful tunes and moving vocals. They include the undulating Tajabone with its distinct country tones, the atmospheric Nabou spiced with synth and soulful female backing vocals, the melancholy Lotto Lo which has an introspective singer/songwriter air about it and Souleymane, the one with a pop-rock arrangement that starts slowly & gently before the tempo increases & the vocals intensify to transform it into a soaring power ballad. This "southern soul" is a staple of West African artists like Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour.

Thirdly, there is the torch song with aching vocals over a meandering rhythm, represented by the title track, Khar and Without Blame, the devastating duet with Marianne Faithfull which is in a class of its own. Sometimes the voices are in harmony, then they diverge in a call & response style. Marianne's English lyrics are most poetic and Ismael's French lines sound equally so. Furthermore, a similar timbre characterizes both voices for a stirring complementary effect. This tour de force ranks among my top 10 songs by Marianne and is the highlight on an album of soulful songs and beautiful melodies that offers impressive stylistic variety.