Cheikh Lô and Thione Diop

Friday, January 17, 2020, 7:30PM

The Great Hall

1119 Eighth Avenue (enter on Eighth Avenue)

Seattle, WA 98101

Doors at 6:30PM.

Instruments like the sabar and the djembe occupy a place of critical importance in Senegalese musical culture—and Senegalese musicians like Cheikh Lô and Thione Diop embody the spirit of African music that’s alive and well today. These two icons of rhythm take Town Hall’s stage for back-to-back performances as part of our Global Rhythms 2019-20 season.

Cheikh Lô’s signature style is unmistakable. An extremely slender frame enveloped by dreadlocks that mark out his membership of the Muslim sect Baye Fall—plus pop-art sneakers, embroidered tunics, Ray Bans glued to a craggy face, and a wide-braided leather necklace offering protection from the evil eye. This swagger carries over into his music; Cheikh Lô is a child of this Africa—an enthusiastic, Sahelian creative. He has performed in styles from Afrobeat to Jazz, from Cuban rhythms to custom Creole-style dance pieces. His most recent album Balbalou offers an array of mbalax grooves, complete with the explosive drumlines and expressive vocals that characterize his music.

Joining Lô in concert is Thione Diop, who is widely recognized for his powerfully expressive djembe performances. He is descended from an ancestral line of Griot drummers in Senegal, West Africa, and is a master of the djembe, sabar, tama, and djun djun. Based in Seattle as a teacher and performer, Diop and his group, Yeke Yeke, offer Pacific Northwest audiences a chance to enjoy immersive experiences in African music, dance, and culture. Pull up a seat to experience the driving energy of two performances by Senegalese masters of rhythm.

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