Album Review: Lidiop - Another Vision
by Gardy Stein
Mama Africa has sent out another of her sons to enrich the global music scene with talent and passion: Prince Baye Fall aka Lidiop is here to bring Another Vision! Although the young singer has quite a following in his native country Senegal and his chosen home France, he is not so well known beyond the borders of these two. Not yet! This will soon change, given the artist's stellar rise, an artist who wins new fans by the minute. Just ten years ago, he arrived in Paris with nothing much to call his own, but the determination to follow his dream and his ability to connect with people and, more importantly, with music made him progress fast. From busking in the streets to singing in bars to performing on festival stages, his exceptional talent pushed him on and on, and when he released his wonderful debut album Soul N Mind in 2018, it was clear that great things can be expected from him.
Another Vision now, released under Soulbeats Music, takes a different course compared to his one-drop-oriented earlier works, as the title implies. Completely acoustic, it's only a guitar, a bass, some percussions, and Lidiop's amazing voice that make up the eleven tracks, but this really is enough. Oscillating between folk, singer-songwriter and African Reggae, the album is not a soundtrack for wild parties, mind – it is one to feel, one that showcases the incredible vocal range this singer commands.
"There is a land, so far away, it's faced to the ocean, it's called Senegal…" Even though it is not the opening track, Senegal is a good place to start this journey. Make sure you watch the accompanying video, as it immediately welcomes you to the hustle and bustle of this westernmost country of the African continent, and you can almost feel the heat of the sun, the salty air, the dust and the smiles of the people – and the love Lidiop has for his home. Sung in English and Wolof, he brings his message across both to his compatriots and to the world at large, and goosebumps are guaranteed once it sinks in.
Equally gripping, the first song Bayima will captivate you by its simplicity. Next to Lidiop himself on guitar and Clément "I-Click" Touron on shakers and percussions, we also hear a violoncello played by Marion Trigo, giving the whole piece some orchestral grandeur, without being flamboyant. There is a surprising shift at 2:48 when the beat becomes more explicitly Reggae, and apart from Find My Way, this is the only instance where the genre so obviously shines through. Still, you feel that Reggae music and Rastafari livity has influenced Lidiop tremendously, not only in the subjects he touches, but also in the intensity, almost totality with which he gives himself to singing and playing instruments. This is best felt in the last track KawSara, a fervent Nyabinghi chant about faith and Mount Zion, more than six minutes long.
Other songs pick up the tempo a bit and bring more worldly issues in. Better Days for example, a joyful, upbeat piece, offers sing-along potential in the sweet little chorus it has, and echoes a wish we all have in these times of war, pandemic and inflation. Lighter still, the second single Calling You asks his beloved why she doesn't answer him, and while the track is not as elaborate as most others on this release, it gives us a glimpse of the MC qualities of the singer in the second part (hopefully we'll hear more of this in the future!).
Calmer and in a delivery that resembles closely the traditional African griots, Yaram Faal has the violoncello join the singer again, answering to his harmonies. Beautiful! The fact that he mentions the name Baye Fall several times makes me guess that he sings about his family, his ancestors maybe, but although I started learning his language once upon a time, I can't really understand enough to translate his words. Also in Wolof, Mama Bless gives away its topic in the title, but we'll have to wait for the upcoming interview with the artist to ask what Mak Mo is about. It has a sweet dynamic, starting softly, then gaining in intensity before, at the end, both instruments and vocals become quieter again.
"You will hear the story of a girl coming from the jungle!" On a rather unspectacular instrumental, Lobi tells the tale of a young woman who is chasing her dream in the big city, remarkably delivered by Lidiop. La Corrida, the only French song originally written and performed by Francis Cabrel, uses the metaphor of a bullfight ("la corrida" in Spanish) to describe the difficulties of holding your ground in a hostile environment.
Another Vision really is something else. Without ingratiation to market pressures or current hypes and trends, Lidiop followed his heart to produce an adorably authentic body of work. Some listeners might find the limited variation in instrumentation or the fact that the artist didn't invite any features become a bit repetitive on album length, but lovers of world music and original creations will sure find joy in this release. The strength of Another Vision is Lidiop's natural gift for singing, for modulating his voice according to the emotion he wants to bring across, from fragile heights to powerful lows - there is no vocoder, no autotune needed to make him sound good, as anyone who has seen him perform live can attest. 'Live simple and be humble' is his motto, and on a recent post the artist shared that he is "more than ready to give you vibes, more than happy to give you my new album, more than an album but a new vision. New feelings! Still the lion roaring, solid as the rock. Let me be what I am, I am what I am!"
Lidiop - Another Vision
DIGITAL RELEASE / CD / VINYL [Soulbeats Records]
Release date: 09/16/2022
02. Mama Bless
03. Yaram Faal
05. Better Days
06. Calling You
08. La Corrida
09. Mak Mo
10. Find My Way