Ismaël Lô (also Ismaël Lo) is a Senegalese musician and actor. He was born in Dogondoutchi, Niger on 30 August 1956, to a Senegalese father and a Nigerien mother. Shortly after Lo’s birth the family returned to Senegal where they settled in the town of Rufisque, near the capital Dakar. He plays guitar and harmonica.
In the 1970s, Lo studied at the School of Art in Dakar. He later joined the popular group Super Diamono, but left in 1984 to start a solo career. Over the next four years Lo recorded five popular solo albums.
In 1990, Lo signed a recording deal with Barclay and recorded in France his sixth solo album, Ismael Lo. Thanks to the success of the single “Tajabone” the album became a hit in the European charts. The album launched Lo’s international career.
Iso was recorded and released in 1994, and also became a success. The album contains soft guitar melodies and traditional Senegalese mbalax. The following year Lo toured in Africa. The compilation album Jammu Africa was released in 1996. The song “Without Blame” is a duet with Marianne Faithfull.
Lo’s song “Tajabone” was featured in Pedro Almodóvar’s film All About My Mother.
In 2002, he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor.
His latest album Sénégal was recorded in Dakar, Paris and London. Lo says of it, “Giving this album the title Sénégal was my way of paying tribute to my own country, in recognition of all its gifts to me”.
In 1997, Lo starred in Moussa Sene Absa’s film ‘Tableau Ferraille’ (Iron Landscape).
The film “Shake Hands with the Devil (2007 film)”, about the Rwandan genocide, starts with Lo’s song “Jammu Africa”.