Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lo' Jo Cinema el Mundo World Village 2012

World music can be a scary thing to some people. In the hands of the right ensemble it can pure magic as is the case with Lo' Jo and the latest release Cinema el Mundo which streets on October 9th. I have often said if you know something about the label and you have a rough idea of the sound you are looking for then you stand a far better chance of making a purchase destined to stay on your shelf on in your computer for longer than six months. World Village should be one of the first labels you think of when you decide to take the plunge into the broad based hybrid of improvisational excellence commonly referred to as world music. 

Cinema el Mundo is not a typical release but more of an experience. There is a subtle familiarity that manages to emerge from an eclectic mix of French chanson and musette, dub reggae, African, Arabic and gypsy flavors that somehow manages to create a unique sub genre which is accessible but just outside the more traditional form and functionality of improvised music here in the west. Think of French gypsy jazz from the 30's on steroids with a slightly organic post modern twist. Got it? Lo'Jo was formed twenty years ago when singer/songwriter Denis Pean hooked up with violinist Richard Bourreau while attending music school in Angers. The latest release is a cinematic take of life with the subtle staging by Jean Lamoot who embraces the melodies with warmth and a rhythmic poetic simplicity that is quite engaging.

"Tout Est Fragile" is an acoustic number with pristine vocal texture. A common issue for some when it comes to world music is not speaking a second language. The beauty of Cinema el Mundo is you don't have to. There is a rhythmic rise and fall in harmonious synchronicity with the melody that one can all most discern the lyrics from the melodic phrasing and inflection based on musical context. "La Marseillaise En Creole" continues the rhythmic punctuation and melodic sense or purpose while delightfully organic. "African Dub Crossing The Fantoms Of An Opera" is simply gypsy jazz with attitude. A sonic percussive adventure that is a tapestry of intricate texture while maintaining the consistent lyrical sense of purpose. Taste of course is subjective and American pop fans of Peter Gabriel and of Sting's later work where he dabbles in world music should be drawn to this recording all most immediately.

The instrument I play is not played here. I don't speak a second language. I have only traveled to Japan and Brazil...yet I find this to be one of the most engaging and captivating world music releases to date and a superior recording across virtually any genre you can think of. As a conservative jazz critic, I sometimes expand my horizons kicking and screaming all the way but not here!

Tracks: At The Beginnging; Tout Est Fragile; La Marseillaise En Creole: Deux Batons; Magnetike; Au Temps Qui Passe; Cinema el Mundo; Zetwal; Alger; Lila; El Cabo Blanco; Comete Algebrique; Vientiane; African Dub Crossing The Fantoms Of An Opera; Au Debut.Personnel: Denis Pean: chant; Richard Bourreau: violon; Nadia Nid El Mourid: chant; Baptist Brondy: batterie, percussions; Stephane Coutable: basson; Niaz Diasamidze: panduri, chant; Laura Caronni: violoncello; Voix Enfant: entretiens radiophoniques de Marguerite Duras.
BAPTISTE BRONDY batterie, percussions
NIAZ DIASAMIDZE panduri, chant
LAURA CARONNI violoncelle
‘VOIX ENFANT entretiens radiophoniques de Marguerite Duras’