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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

LO'JO

By Derek Beres

Ce Soir La
World Village

French nuevo-chanson outfit Lo'Jo is one of the hardest working bands on the planet, but their recordings have never quite rivaled their live show. In two decades of touring they've blended circus acrobatics, Malian folklore and Arabic instrumentation into a genuine, not-to-be-missed spectacle. All of this has finally been condensed into Ce Soir Lรก , a beautiful 17-track live set that reveals the brilliant songs behind the band's previous mediocre recordings. Harmoniumist and ringleader Denis Pean's cigarette-laden rasp is woven seamlessly into the dueling voices of the Nid el Mourid sisters, Nadia and Yamina (who also excels on saxophone, kamel n'goni and percussion). Lo'Jo jams on the Jew's Harp on "Cing cauris ocre" and n'goni on the melodic "Cada Hombre," while inviting Benin's Gangbe Brass Band along on "Senor Calice." Speaking in numerous tongues (including one they made up themselves) Lo'Jo's border-defying antics have made them as much a movement as a band. Like Cirque du Soleil with Tom Waits doing verbal backflips over intriguing percussive lattices, this is the only replacement for seeing them live.