Lo’Jo, the musical adventurers from Angers, France, are a welcome return to Montreal on their many world travels. In a thirty-year plus career, we have not seen and heard enough of these unique musical acrobats of the imagination whose destination is an open heart.
Long before “world music” was to become a musical current, singer-poet Denis Péan and violinist-kora player-arranger Richard Bourreau had cultivated and nurtured a magnificent obsession that has remained ever since – to make music unlike any already in existence – an imaginative spectrum that celebrates a sense of multicultural community beyond and before globalization.
Citizens of the world, Lo’Jo’s stylistic baggage is a trunk full of sophisticated sounds and poetry, of chanson filled with their explorations, both musically and territorially – from the southern Sahara where they helped create the first Festival in the Desert in 2001, which helped launch the international career of Tuareg collective Tinariwen, onto Georgia and the Causcasus, the Reunion Island to China, and from Agadir to Adelaide, not to mention Buenos Aires to Katmandou.
Winners of the 2013 Songlines Music Award, Lo’Jo’s compelling music is built around the poetical lyrics of Denis Péan, who’s songs and voice have been compared to a shamanic twin of Tom Waits, he as a Gallic poet brother of Johnny Cash’s later period. Berber sisters, Yamina and Nadia Ned Il Mourid bring rich vocal harmonies and instrumental colours to this polyglot sextet, who’s cinema travels beyond continents to the margins of outer space, sweeping back onto our doorstep, for ours to savour. The band is rounded out by bassist Kham Meslien and drummer Baptiste Brondy, who assure a grounding to the rich and complex of rhythms Lo’Jo is noted for.
“Thirty years of travelling with open ears has given LO’JO’s sound a unique richness. They play funky dubbed-up chanson with a bewildering variety of influences. It adds up to a brilliant whole that scorns classification.” – Andy Morgan, The Guardian (25/07/12)