Dressing Room

Discovered by Peter Gabriel, Lo’Jo are a musical street caravan – an iconoclastic group whose fans include Björk, and John Zorn.

“We are really excited to be bringing one of the most musically intriguing, intense and challenging groups on the International music stage to Whitby. We know that their live set is something to behold and very much look forward to the great reaction they will undoubtedly elicit from our wonderful audience.” – Jim McLaughlin Musicport director

With 30 years under their belt this collective of musicians from the south-west of France confirmed their position as one of the world’s leading musical outfits when their tenth studio album Cinéma El Mundo topped many Best Of lists in 2012. They   were named as Best Group in international music magazine Songlines 2013 Awards.

Renowned for their astonishing live shows the bands music embraces North African song, African flavours and percussion, classic French chanson, dub, rock and Romany music. Leader Denis Péan’s songs are written in French, English, Spanish and often uses words that just sound right, even if they don’t really exist! The seven-piece band also includes two sisters of Berber origin, Nadia and Yamina Nid el Mourid, whose astonishing close harmony is one of Lo’Jo’s most distinctive features. With a Caribbean bassist and French drummer, the line-up is truly multicultural; and Lo’Jo, who are based in the western city of Angers in the Loire valley, are indefinably attuned to how each of their many influences fit into the overall weave of their compelling music.

Their tenth studio album, Cinéma el Mundo, betrayed no sign at all that they intend to slow down, and features prestigious musical guests such as the legendary Robert Wyatt (who opens the album intoning in French) and Ibrahim Ag Alhabib from Tinariwen. Thirty years of travelling with open ears has given Lo’Jo’s sound a unique richness. They play funky dubbed-up chanson, raw yet intricate, with a bewildering variety of influences. Their sound is full of melancholy, nostalgia, and empathy with the displaced, marginalised and lonely. The pride and strength of culture of some of these soulmates – the Touareg, Creole and Berber to name three – add further layers to Lo’Jo’s musical palette and instrumental line-up.

Poet-in-chief Denis Péan takes us on journeys, across the ocean, to inhospitable new places, sits with us on a café terrace, regards the displaced, engages with all those who speculate on what it means to be a human being in the 21st century, the limitations of choice and quest for liberty. Not only did they co-found the legendary Festival In The Desert, they’ve also collaborated with Tinariwen and worked with Robert Plant’s guitarist Justin Adams. Sometimes they let others into their glorious garden.

 ‘The hypnotic pull of finely detailed yet, paradoxically, boldly sparse arrangements, seems to stop time. Exquisite.’

The Independent

Musicport Festival Saturday Night Headliner, Lo’Jo, Saturday 18th October. The festival rusn from the 17th – 19th October 2014 http://www.musicportfestival.com/

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