In the 1970s 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 Barclay and recorded in France his sixth solo album, Ismael Lo. Thanks to the success of the single "Tajabone" the album became a hit in the European charts. The album 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 in Africa. The compilation album Jammu Africa was released in 1996. The song "Without Blame" is a duet with Marianne Faithfull.
Lo's song "Tajabone" was featured in Pedro Almodóvar's film All About My Mother.
In 2002 he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor.
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 own 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". 
- Gor Sayina Tracks: [A] Yaye Boye Balalma / Gor Saay Na / Ale Lo/ Woudje Yaye // [B] Tiedo / N'daxami / Sey / Adou Calpe
- Xalat Tracks: [A] Xalat / Tali Be (Talibe) / Lote Lo // [B] Xamul Dara / Mariama / Fa Diallo
- Xiif, Tracks: [A] Alal / Bode Gor / Xiif (Ethiopie Sahel) // [B] Tiedo / Diouma / Marie Lo
- Natt, Tracks: [A] Ataya / Natt / Djola Kele // [B] Samag La / Mougneul / Tadieu Bone
- Diawar, Tracks: [A] Jele Bi / Sophia / Taar Dousey -- [B] Diawar / Jalia / Adou Calpe
- Diawar (CD: Stern's Africa STCD 1027)
- This CD contains the original Diawar album as well as additional material from the Xalat and Xiif albums.
- Tracks: 1. Jelebi / 2. Sophia / 3. Taar Dousey / 4. Diawar / 5. Jalia / 6. Adou Calpe / 7. Xamul Dara / 8. Fa Diallo / 9. Mariama / 10. Ceddo / 11. Marie Lo / 12. Bode Gor
- Wadiour , Tracks: [A] Wadiour / Diabar / Souleymane // [B] Mbarawath / Nene / Tariha
- Ismael Lo, CD: Barclay (France); Mango 162-539 919-2 (USA)
- Tracks: Tajabone / Raciste / Ale Lo / Jiggeny Ndakaru / Fa Diallo / Souleymane / M'barawath / Nene
- Afrique Sunu (MC: Ilopro) 
- Tracks: Diop le Marie / Ndeye Wassaname / 60.000 / Afrique Sunu / Teranga Senegal / Khar
- Iso, Tracks: Dibi Dibi Rek / Nafantav / La Femme Sans Haine / Rero / Senegambie / Baol Baol / Naboou / Nassarane / Wassalia / Setsinala / Khar / Samayaye
- Jammu Africa, Tracks: Jammu Africa / Nafantav / Sofia / Tajabone / Raciste / Nabou / Without Blame / Dibi Dibi Rek / Lotte Lo / Souleymane / Samba Et Leuk / Takou Deneu / Khar
- Dabah, Tracks: Aiwa / L'Amour A Tous Les Droits / Biguisse / Amoul Solo / Dabah / Boulfale / Faut Qu'on S'Aime / Africa Democratie / Diour Sani / Badara / Ma Dame / N'Dally / Xalas / Mam
- Sénégal (released on 2 October 2006), Tracks: "Baykat" / "Incha Allah" / "Tass Yakar" / "Jola" / "Taar Dusey" / "Manko" / "Yaye Boye" / "Plus Je Fais Ci, Plus Je Fais Ça"
"Mbindane" / "Wakhal" / "Ouvriers" / "Jiguen" / "Ma Fille" / "Tajabone"
- Africa Nossa (with Cesaria Evora)