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World - Released January 1, 2003 | Universal Music Division Capitol Music France

Headlined by "Without Blame," a duet with Marianne Faithfull, Jammu Africa includes five new tracks along with eight songs either offered in their original versions or remixed. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo

World - Released January 1, 1994 | Universal Music Division Capitol Music France

An album comprised largely of Afrobeat sounds for Lo's third release. The music moves, however, from pure Afrobeat, on to piano-accompanied vocal work, vaguely in the vocal jazz/pop singer style. Lo's vocal prowess on the album is stunning, as would be expected. There are less parallels in general to other Senegalese and/or Malian singers, as there were on other albums. Lo seems to be defining his own style a bit more clearly here, as he was progressing through his career. The songs deal with topics ranging from the inevitability of death to the pain of arranged marriages to love for his mother. Musically, the album is probably a step up from Diawar, but both are worthwhile. Pick it up as a fan of Lo, or as a fan of the West African vocal traditions. © Adam Greenberg /TiVo

Africa - Released January 1, 1987 | Syllart Records


Africa - Released January 1, 1989 | Syllart Records

From the great Senegalese vocalist Ismael Lo comes this album, his fourth solo effort (though it also includes a number of tracks from his sophomore release, Xiff). The horn arrangements are tight, and the combination of horns and guitar lines makes for a nice, danceable groove throughout the album. Aside from the superb instrumental work, however, Lo's voice is really the star of the album. At times able to command the full capacity of many of his African vocalist predecessors (Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, etc.), he is also capable of providing a nice, soft vocal texture to lay over the top of the instrumental end if necessary. The voice (and the mastering) has a slight echoing quality to it throughout the duration of the album, which can at times add to the feel of a ballad and at times perhaps get in the way of a quicker funk riff on the guitars. Still, it is a minor flaw in an otherwise stunning album. Anyone following the career of Lo probably already has this album, but those who have yet to hear his vocal prowess would do well to pick this one up and learn of it. © Adam Greenberg /TiVo

Africa - Released January 1, 2000 | Syllart Records


Africa - Released January 1, 2007 | Syllart Productions


World - Released January 1, 2006 | Universal Music Division Capitol Music France

Ismaël Lô has long been thought of as Africa's Bob Dylan, since he performs with guitar and harmonica. But it's a comparison that doesn't work for Senegal, which is a lushly arranged look at his own country. The subjects of his songs -- racism, poverty, famine, and a ferryboat disaster that's commemorated on "Le Jola" -- might be hard-hitting, but they're couched in lulling Afro-pop that seems to take any sting out of the words. Even when the album goes uptempo it never loses control. What's missing, really, is a sense of passion and fire in the music. It's eminently listenable, and Lô's a gorgeous singer and tunesmith, but a starker backdrop might serve him better. © Chris Nickson /TiVo

Africa - Released January 1, 1985 | Syllart Records


Africa - Released January 1, 1984 | Syllart Records