French African collective. Tom Waits meets the Touaregs. Very tasty.
Helene Rammant 2003
Quel délire! In English: divinely decadent music which works wonders on your imagination. Au Cabaret Sauvage will grab you, throw you up in the air, till you eventually find yourself floating in the dark world of singer Péan's poetic and musical galaxy.
This is the third album by Péan and his tribe Lo Jo who are more then just a band. They are a multi-ethnic collective of music-making poets, street and circus performers, film-activists: cultural militants who have been operating communally from a house in Anger, France since 1982.
Their musical style? A fascinating mixture of languages, instruments and cultures, that draws on the legacy of les Negresses Vertes and Mano Negra.
The musical ingredients are North African, cabaret style, on a bed of French chanson, with a dash of dub. Vèrrrry tasty, and certainly food for thought. Péan, a French Tom Waits, sings with the cynical charm of Gainsbourg about the blood dancing in the veins of our slumbering sisters. His lyrics (in Esperanto!) combine humour and pathos to present insights about a world we did not create and may never hope to completely understand. This must be the vision you get from up-there, as a trapeze artist.
'Les Humains' kicks off with a dreamy 6/8 on kora, soon joined byPéan's "miles of petals" which mingle beautifully with the Berber singing of sisters Nadia and Yamina. Their voices are also finely demonstrated on 'Tangito', a gloomy tango number with lots of Bohemian violin. 'Le Poeme de Japonais 'displays a trance-inducing, ululating feast of catchy balafon and ngoni (harp) playing, clearly inspired by the music of Lo Jo's southern neighbours, and personal friends, the Touaregs.
Vive la world! This is a group with a joie de vivre and voice of its own, a delicious blend of good music with worldly philosophy. Au Cabaret Sauvage is truly a breath of fresh air.