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 the guitar and the harmonica.
In the 70s, 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 Barclays and recorded his seventh solo album in France Ismael Lo. Thanks to the success of the single “Tajabone”, the album became a hit in the European charts and 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 Africa. The compilation album Jammu Africa was released in 1996. Lo’s song “Tajabone” was featured in Pedro Almodóvar’s film All About My Mother.
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 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), about the Rwandan genocide, starts with Lo’s song “Jammu Africa”.