On April 20 , at Zankel Hall in New York City, Cheikh Lô, the Senegalese Sufi troubadour drew an enthusiastic crowd. A superb singer, songwriter, and a distinctive guitarist, drummer and percussionist Cheikh Lô has developed his own sound, which distills a variety of influences from West and Central Africa. His music can be described as a mix of mbalax (diaspora sounds such as soul, blues, R & B, Latin jazz and rhythms) with reggae and soukous (African rumba) influence.
He was quite a striking figure with his very long dread locks and colored clothes, which he wears both as a reflexion of his religious beliefs. He is a member of the Baye Fall, a specifically Senegalese form of Islam and part of the larger Islamic brotherhood of Mouridism.
In his own words: ” In Baye Fall, we have something called a jarasse. It’s the multi-colored clothes that I wear most of the time. And the music on my album, Jamm is a kind of jarasse because it has many colors. If you unite this patchwork of colors, what do you get? You get harmony, and harmony is life. Musically, I’m very open to new ideas, new colors. That’s the source of the variety in my music. “