Piranha Arts, the organizers of WOMEX, the annual world music exposition, have announced that Senegalese musician Cheikh Lô will be honored with the WOMEX Artist Award for 2015.
A singer, guitarist and drummer, Lô’s music is as versatile as he is. He has been lauded for bringing Senegalese mbalax to a wider international audience, which he achieved at least in part through omnivorous stylistic sampling. Over his five international releases, Lô has been known to draw from Mandingo and Congolese musical influences, American and Nigerian funk, reggae and salsa.
And then there’s his voice. In a review of Lô’s 2011 album Jamm, Afropop’s Luiza Piffero wrote, “At once husky and smooth, Lô’s voice is versatile enough to evoke the praise-singing tradition of the Sufis in Senegal while also incarnating radically different personas ranging from the most devoted flamenco singer to a Cuban salsa veteran or a Malian vocalist.”
Winning an award at WOMEX is bound to be a big boost for Lô. Last year, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, WOMEX brought together 2,400 delegates and more than 320 artists from 90 countries for the five-day marathon of concerts, a trade fair, speakers, film screenings and, of course, networking.
This year WOMEX will be held from Oct. 21-25 in Budapest, Hungary. The award will be given at the Palace of Arts on the last night of the exposition, along with the yet-to-be-announced Professional Excellence Award and Top Label Award.
Congratulations to Lô!