French world-music band Lo’Jo’s seventh studio album is a sea voyage across time and space. Cosmophono opens with a brief invocation from singer Nadia Nid el Mourid, then a loping drumbeat and simplest of phrases on piano hoist the rhythmic mast of “Petit Courage”, so that lead singer and keyboardist Denis Péan can sail from the bordellos of Marseille to tropical bars.
Lo’Jo fuses language and sound into a savvy synthesis of cultural influences from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Caribbean. Péan’s throaty voice recalls the rougher French chansonniers of the ’50s and ’60s. His lyrics, however, suggest the earlier influence of the legendary poet Arthur Rimbaud. Péan weaves rich, at times surrealistic images and the band creates soundscapes full of colour, emotion, light and shadows. The songs, all credited to Péan and Lo’Jo, draw on cabaret, circus, rock, and folk traditions. Listening to Lo’Jo is like being in Rimbaud’s drunken boat, riding the ocean swell after one more slug of absinthe.
01. Petit courage
02. Je prends la nuit
03. Sur des carnets nus
04. Pays natal
05. Café de la Marine
06. Dresseur de hasards
08. Sur l'Océan
09. La nuit de temps
11. Rue de la Solitude
12. La liberté
Denis Péan: vocals, Indian harmonium, piano, sampler, little bells, basin, baskets.
Richard Bourreau: violin, imzad, kora, kamel n’goni.
Nadia Nid El Mourid: vocals, bamboo, bells.
Yamina Nid El Mourid: vocals, kamel n’goni, soprano saxophone, bells, triangle.
Kham Meslien: bass guitar, double bass, sanza.
Franck Vailllant: hand drums and cymbals.