Angelique Kidjo: Oyo (Razor and Tie/Shock)

 |   |  1 min read

Angelique Kidjo: Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka
Angelique Kidjo: Oyo (Razor and Tie/Shock)

When singer Kidjo from Benin emerged in the early Nineties it seemed to me she got more mileage than she deserved, largely on the back of her story and looks rather than the music. Her early albums prior to and including Aye ('94?) really did nothing for me and so I tuned out for a while.

But then it became increasingly clear that Kidjo was no world music/folklorist/cover girl and her collaborations with jazz musicians (Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves), the likes of Santana and African artists such as Amadou and Miriam, Manu Dibango and others -- as well as her wide-open approach to songs which saw her covering Hendrix's Voodoo Child, soul classics and so on -- indicated here was was someone who was following her excellent instincts.

She was truly creating a "world music" idiom where the power of the song and the sentiment was paramount.

This exceptional album sees her taking a typically wide-angle approach: here are rollicking treatments of Curtis Mayfield's Move on Up (with John Legend) and the classic Otis Redding soul ache Dreams to Remember (sung in Yoruban) alongside James Brown's Cold Sweat, Aretha Franklin's Baby I Love You (with Reeves) and the jazz standard Petite Fleur as well as African styles such as high life (the joyous Kelele), a version of Miriam Makeba's Lakutshona Llanga . . .

She also mixes in some Brazilian influences and makes over the theme to an Indian movie she loved as a child into infectious West African pop.

Diverse certainly, but unified by the powerful, undeniably soulful voice from someone whose early work I seem to have seriously misjudged. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Modou Toure and Ramon Goose: The West African Blues Project (Arc Music)

Modou Toure and Ramon Goose: The West African Blues Project (Arc Music)

The idea of a connection between West Africa and the blues is hardly new. As far back as the Thirties scholars were exploring the songlines and in his seminal The Story of The Blues book (and... > Read more

Monoswezi: The Village (Riverboat/Southbound)

Monoswezi: The Village (Riverboat/Southbound)

Further evidence as to why, especially in the area of world music, you should never judge an album by its cover. As Elsewhere has said previously, exceptional and exciting bellydance albums usually... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Dub Inc: Paradise (Naive)

Dub Inc: Paradise (Naive)

Although little known in this country, the multi-culti Dub Inc from France coming here for Womad this weekend have been around since the late Nineties, have played in over 50 countries and released... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE KIPPER KIDS: The theatre of cruelty and farting

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE KIPPER KIDS: The theatre of cruelty and farting

The fair-enough question might be “Who the hell are the Kipper Kids?”. But for those who know of them it's more likely, “Do we really have to talk about the Kipper Kids?”... > Read more