Time stands still for Lo’Jo — pain of longing and sweet strains of a je ne sais quoi, strangely ancient melody gather like lazy cumulus clouds over African-gypsy rhythms — this French group from Angers brings Europe and the vast continent to its south together in a seductive dance, a musical trance. As the thickly sensual lead voice of Denis Péan delivers the lyrics — mostly his own poetry — the specter of Arthur Rimbaud, France’s 19th century bad-boy poet, rises above these wild rivers and savannas of language: parce que les mots sont fragiles à l’embrasure des lèvres (“because words are fragile at the opening of the lips”). Burning powders of desire, pelvic undulations, threads of accordion enchantment spun around violins and hand claps, the high backup voices of sisters Nadin and Yasmina Nid El Mourid: They all come together in a communal chanting celebration of bohemian crystal (as in the title of their latest CD for World Village, Bohême de Cristal). Cosmopolitan is too cold a word for the mysterious, borderless beauty of this ensemble.
Lo’Jo performs Saturday as part of the Viva La World French Embassy Tour, from 4 to 8:15 p.m., on the Embassy Stage at Chene Park in downtown Detroit (at Atwater and Chene, on the Detroit River). The official concert schedule can be found at www.concertofcolors.org.
Be sure to check out the rest of MT's special features in celebration of the Concert of Colors:
- "Mixing the waters" An introduction to the Concert of Colors (and some of the artists performing there), where exotic world sounds mingle and flow across boundaries and borders.
- Amina Defying categorization, this Tunisian Parisienne’s sensual and tender voice seems at ease floating between the worlds of drum and bass, jungle, Asian and traditional West African beats.
- Burnt Sugar Having updated Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew with a multilayered mix of electric, dreamy funk, this ever-evolving jazz-session collective just keeps getting deeper.
- Cheb Mami An Algerian native whose return to the desert breaks musical borders. Sting calls him “one of the greatest voices in world music today.”
- Cibo Matto Japanese-born master sound chefs who serve up an irresistible stew of funk, hip hop, hardcore, melody and fractured pop.
- Lágbájá A colorful, enigmatic post-Fela phenomenon, mixing elements of Afrobeat and drumming with Western pop twists.
- Los Lobos Quintessentially American, this long-lived East Los Angeles-based combo mixes rock, ranchera and more with an authenticity that can never be questioned.
- Poncho Sanchez This Latin-jazz bandleader extraordinaire keeps the Cal Tjader flame alive with his Afro-Cuban pulsations.