The Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre welcomed the French group Lo’Jo to play their eclectic set to a full theatre, with 90 minutes of soul-warming rhythms that proved to be both an auditory and visual treat.
“The mood was infectious, and the atmosphere electric”
The group of 6 members, each with obvious passion for their music, interwove their instruments to create both harmony and dissonance, resulting in a highly unusual night that had the whole audience bopping and swaying after a few songs. The fusion of gypsy, North African and French chanson styles directly spoke to each member of the audience, appealing to their inner primal instinct to dance and get involved. The mood was infectious, and the atmosphere electric.
“The keyboard provided a deep, steady base to the music”
After a humble entrance to the stage, the 6 artists let their music do the talking and unified to create their completely unique sound. They introduced themselves towards the end, adding to the intimate and exclusive feeling of the performance. The figurehead is Tudi, an iconic man with a lilting gravelly voice, whose performance on the keyboard and seductive French accent captivated the audience. The keyboard provided a deep, steady base to the music and the special effects added some understated zest.
“Richard was on violin, and often stole the show with the soulful cadence of his melodies and solos”
Switching between the bass guitar and the cello, for a wide range of moods beneath the music, was Alex, who possessed all the style and elegance suited to his instruments of choice. Frank was on drums, and provided true mastery to every beat and rhythm that underpinned the songs. Richard was on violin, and often stole the show with the soulful cadence of his melodies and solos. And finally, the two vocalists sang beautiful harmonies that transcended the theatre and flowed straight into the bloodstream of each audience member. Nadia appeared to be the main vocalist, with a truly stunning voice, while Yamina, also a beautiful singer, simultaneously proved her musical talent by accompanying the band with a clarinet, sitar, tambourine and cymbals in turn, adding a final shimmering layer to the height of the performance.
“A ravishing fusion of many genres”
The result was a ravishing fusion of many genres, which gripped the soul of the listener and pulled them irresistibly in. The vocals ranged from being reminiscent of the smooth inflections of ABBA to the cry of a warrior, while the music touched on jazz and folk, at times becoming almost Alt-J-esque, before oscillating back to the sensuous tones of a burlesque club.
The experience was one to remember, and the band were called back on stage for multiple encores by a hungry audience. As Tudi said, in one of his musings between songs, “we are a family”, playing for “our English friends in Europe”, which gained many ironic jeers of support as we face a widely unwanted Brexit. The familial bond between performers translated to the intimate night, which is perfectly summarised in Tudi’s closing sentiments that “the best thing we have to share is the present moment. This is precious”; and I confidently speak for the entire audience when I say I wholeheartedly agree.
Featured Image courtesy of Lo’Jo Official Facebook Page.