French act Lo' Jo light up the Wolsey

LIFE is full of little surprises and many among the audience at the New Wolsey last night got a pleasant one.

Lo' Jo

The New Wolsey, Ipswich, last night

LIFE is full of little surprises and many among the audience at the New Wolsey last night got a pleasant one.

This likeable collection of French musicians produced a barnstorming performance challenging attempts at definition.

There were classic French elements mixed with north and west African delights. There were moments of Arabic charm and hints of traditional Romany components too and all were produced using a range of instruments rarely seen.

Some looked homemade, others sourced from the hunters of the Sahara and tribes of west Africa and together they created a magical musical landscape which you couldn't help but get lost in and smile all the while.

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Lead singer Denis Pean was repeatedly greeted with a bear hug of applause by the gushing audience who were quickly won over by his suited but barefoot presence.

His lyrics were sometimes classically French, labouring on loneliness and sadness, but most often the tone of Lo' Jo's busy set was upbeat and celebratory - making the most of hypnotic musical styles from around the globe.

At least three standing ovations and several outbursts of dancing in the aisles from among the audience - much to the ushers' annoyance - left the five band members in no doubt that the full house at the impressively revamped Wolsey liked what they heard.

So often up-and-coming acts get all the hype. These were experienced and professional musicians using all the tools at their disposal - even cowbells and something that looked a bit like a coconut in a bit of fishing net - to make beautiful sounds.

No wonder they're so popular at world music festivals.

GRANT SHERLOCK

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