Back to Musiques d'Afrique Frank Bessem's
Musiques d'Afrique:

Ismael Lô
retour aux Musiques d'Afrique
Back to Musiques d'Afrique
Back to Musiques du Senegal

Ismaël Lô was born from a Peul mother from Niger and a Wolof father who was working in Niamey. Ismael grew up in Rufisque (Senegal), where his family came from. Already as a child, he made his own guitar with recycled materials. He also learned to play the mouth-organ and he fixed it to the wall to have his hands free to hold the guitar at the same time. With Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and Wilson Pickett as inspiration, he was presented to the public at the age of fourteen, playing the two instruments at the time for the national television.

In 1979, he joined Super Diamono de Dakar, and several albums were recorded, such as Darami and Mabamba. In 1984, Ismael started his solo career, with Vieux Faye, a guitar player, Sélé Thiam, former sax player of Super Diamono and Thio Mbaye, percussionnist of the Ballets d'Afrique Noire. Apart from numerous local cassette productions in Senegal, he recorded a number of albums in Europe. His popularity in Senegal was almost immediate. His music, a mix of softer guitar melodies with soulful vocals and the up-tempo mbalax rhythms, as well as the lyrics, addressing social issues and politics, contributed to the success. The international recognition came with the compilation album « Jammu Africa » in 1997. His duet with Marianne Faithfull on that album brought considerable international exposure. Over the years, he has worked with various Senegalese and international artists, for instance with Fode Kouyate, Demba Dia, Alioune Kasse, Marone & Co, Thione Seck, Bisso Na Bisso, Africando, Stephan Eicher and Jane Birkin. In 2004, he toured extensively in Southern and East Africa, ending in Morocco. A new album is coming out in October 2006.

Born: August 30, 1956, in Dongo Buti, Niger.
Style: Mbalax, afro-folk.


Title Year Label Remarks
Senegal 2006 AZ
Classics Titles 2006 Cantos Compilation
Dabah 2001 Mercury (France) 548 858-2 / Universal Also on Wrasse Records WRASS043
The Balladeer - Best of Ismael Lô 2001 Wrasse Records WRASS 031
Tadieu bone 1999 Sono CDS7053 Best of compilation
Jammu Africa 1997 Mercury 314 534 233-2
Iso 1994 Mango 522362-2
Ismael Lo (Tajabone) 1991 Barclay 847972-2
Diawar 1989 Syllart 38759-2 Also on Stern's STCD 1027
Natt 1987 Syllart 38740-2
Xiif 1985 Syllart SYL 8321
Xalat 1984 Syllart SYL 8314
Gor Sayina 1981 Bellot Records Ismael Lo - l'homme orchestre

See also Toshiya Endo's African music discography for a comprehensive list (Incl. local productions).

Back to/retour à Frank Bessem's Musiques du Sénégal

Copyright © 1998-2006 Frank Bessem