Pop Live: Musical trade routes

CHEIKH LO/

ERNEST RANGLIN BARBICAN LONDON

SENEGAL MET Jamaica at the Barbican last week, in a double bill that paired silver-voiced West African Cheikh Lo with West Indian jazz- guitar legend Ernest Ranglin, so demonstrating the countries' musical links. Though inevitable, comparisons were largely unfair: genial elder statesman Ranglin - here with a big band on the eve of his 68th birthday - carved his own alcove in the Hall of Fame decades ago. Conversely, the reputation of fortysomething Lo rests solely on the strength of his impressive 1996 debut Ne La Thiass (Gone in a Flash), produced by compatriot and mentor Youssou N'Dour, the Senegalese superstar who was sufficiently inspired to introduce Lo to Western audiences.

Yet Lo, the opening act, demonstrated considerably more confidence in his abilities than on similar occasions. A slight, dreadlocked figure clad in the lurid patchwork garb of the Islamic Baye Fall sect, Lo and his seven similarly attired backing musicians delivered a pleasant enough set, taking in the polyrhythms of both Cuba and West Africa while showcasing the singer's extraordinary vocal range. Muezzin-like on praise songs such as "Sant Maam", lilting and sonorous on the album's Latin-drenched title track, Lo's voice was occasionally awe-inspiring. But songs from his forthcoming, highly anticipated second release felt flat, leaving Lo increasingly reliant on tama (talking drum) player Assane Diop to revive flagging energies.

By contrast, the ringing guitar sounds of Ranglin were an exercise in masterful understatement. Armed with a sunburst semi-acoustic Guild, the man his band call "Papa" demonstrated a hypnotic array of influences while deftly incorporating the prowess of his mostly Senegalese band. Exploration of musical trade routes was tonight's raison d'etre, the culmination of a lifetime of experimentation in jazz, funk and Afro-Caribbean fusion. After working with big bands influenced by American swing, Ranglin helped shape the course of Jamaican music in the late Fifties by pioneering the development of ska, collaborating with Bob Marley and Lee Perry, and releasing a series of classic albums before heading to Senegal to record last year's lauded In Search of the Lost Riddim.

From the strummed guitar patterns of "Up for the Downstroke" to the ska- tinged melodies of "D'Accord Dakar" and the delicate strains of "Nuh True", Ranglin padded around the stage like a kindly uncle, managing to dominate proceedings with improvisational flights of fancy while simultaneously emphasising the evening's collaborative nature by introducing charismatic teenage chanteuse Cisse Diamba Kanoute on the rousing "Wouly". Ranglin's thunderous encore welcomed a reinvigorated Cheikh Lo on vocals. The master had worked his magic again. Audiences at Glastonbury and Womad Festivals have a treat in store.

Ernest Ranglin plays Glastonbury on Sunday

Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project