Senegalese musician Cheikh Lô brings with him over forty years of making music fused with a variety of sounds from West and Central Africa and is one of the the most well-known artists coming out of Africa today. At the Spring 2016 Artist-in-Residence at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs, Lô will discuss his life in music
(April 2), be in conversation with actor Danny Glover (April 7), perform in a free concert (April 9), and lead a music and discussion session with other artists (April 12).
Africa Live Concert is a living party. The voice of Cheikh Lô is unique, cosmopolitan, graceful, slender and high-pitched, pulsating irregularly. Cheikh Lô begins by paying tribute to his spiritual guide, founder of Mouridisme. After this message various themes will be shaped that will be developed in different songs under Mbalax rhythms, Afro-beat of salsa in a festive atmosphere with African colors.
“Lô’s voice, variously husky, languid and impassioned, tells—in Wolof and Bambara—of corruption and coups d’état, of the importance of peace, love and spirituality.”—Jane Cornwell, in her review of the album Balbalou, Jazzwise Magazine.
The path of Cheikh Lô’s forty-year music career and the topics covered in his artistic creativity will be further explored and examined during his residency. His most recent album Balbalou received the prestigious Artist Award 2015 at Womex (World Music Expo) with lyrical themes exploring concepts of corruption, coups d’état as well as the importance of peace, love and spirituality.
Born in 1955 in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso to Senegalese parents, Cheikh Lô started at a very young age to sing and play music. He took his first orchestral steps when he joined the band Volta Jazz Orchestra, one of the best in post-independence West Africa that played both the Cuban and Congolese pop as traditional music from Burkina Faso.
Since then, Lô has worked with various artists exposing him to the musical diversity both in Africa and in the diaspora. His five international albums have received resounding success with each ranking number one in the top ten in Europe.
Lô is a member of Baye Fall, a section of the Mouride brotherhood which is marked by his dreadlocks, a hallmark of this very influential Muslim community in Senegal.
A singer, guitarist, percussionist and songwriter his music fuses Jamaican reggae, funk, which he mixes with the Senegalese rhythms of mabalax and Ghanaian high-life, playing to the cultural openness of his artistry.
The NYU-IAAA Cheikh Lô Artist-in-Residence programs are free and open to the public. Space is limited. Please RSVP at (212) 998-IAAA (4222) for all programs except the April 9th free concert at Skirball. Concert attendees must register on-line at NYU University Box Office and bring printed confirmation to Skirball for admission.
ABOUT THE NYU-IAAA ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
The Artist-in-Residence Program was initiated by the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University in 1996, with writer Walter Mosley as the first guest. It has since become one of the most respected and well attended programs at New York University. The audience is particularly attracted to the interdisciplinary nature of the programs. A writer, for example will invite musicians to play music and discuss his/her writing. An actor could organize a panel around politics, etc. Past Artists-in-Residence include, Angela Davis, Anna Devere Smith, Randy Weston, Salif Keita, Amiri Baraka, Jayne Cortez, Danny Glover, William Greaves, Edouard Glissant, John Akomfrah and Meklit Hadero, and most recently Linton Kwesi Johnson.