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Wasis Diop: Toxu

Senegalese singer-instrumentalist-composer Wasis Diop is even more free in his cross-cultural lineage, a will to diversify reflected in his itinerant life, having moved to Paris and then Jamaica, working in film music along the way. Various colors and influences pop up, not surprisingly, on his second domestic release, Toxu (Triloka 314 558 198; 53:08). Elements of techno, soul, reggae (especially on the bubblingly rhythmic title tune) and other extra-Senegalese styles weave into the mix. Diop sings with a unique, alternately smooth and gruff voice, at once warm and a bit aloof, sometimes suggesting an African answer to Leonard Cohen. But he’s more driven by melody and rhythmic pulse, a musician who happily mixes stylistic ideas and crosses borders in the pursuit of an infectious musical statement.

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