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

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide)

Perhaps because I flatter mysef and the smarts of Elsewhere visitors, I'd like to believe the title of this 30-track download-only album (available here) through the Rough Guide imprint is just a... > Read more

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2014): Three days of love, peace and percussion

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2014): Three days of love, peace and percussion

The glee-cum-concern with which weather forecasters last week announced the impending tropical cyclone doubtless accounted for “calm before the storm” being heard as often on Friday,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Oneohtrix Point Never: Good Time, original soundtrack (Warp/Southbound)

Oneohtrix Point Never: Good Time, original soundtrack (Warp/Southbound)

This electronica-cum-contemporary art music continues the association New York-based composer OPN (aka Daniel Lopatin to his parents) has had with movies. But this aurally scouring soundtrack... > Read more

Eden Kane: Boys Cry (1964)

Eden Kane: Boys Cry (1964)

When Peter Sarstedt had his smash hit single Where Do You Go To My Lovely? in '69 some unfairly asked . . . where did his brother Richard go? Richard, who used the stage name Eden Kane, had... > Read more