Angélique Kidjo - Oyo

2010-02-24 13:01
Though the songs Angelique Kidjo covers on Oyo hail from all over popular musical spectrum and from many decades, Oyo is amazingly cohesive. As when she covered Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" on Oremi. Kidjo can be note-perfect, while still making a song so much her own as to render it almost unrecognisable.

She does it again with each track on this collection of songs that influenced and inspired her. Although she grew up in Benin, the music that made her what she is from all over the world: New Orleans USA, South Africa (Miriam Makeba was a major mentor) and Bollywood, as well as including the international jazz classics you'd expect. Although Angelique collaborates with big-star guests like John Legend (on "Move On Up", penned by Curtis Mayfield) and Dianne Reeves (on Aretha Franklyn's "Baby I love You"), her style and vocal presence still holds centre stage.

So, no surprises, but no disappointments either, on this very satisfying release for fans of Kidjo, classical African and global roots music.

"Zelie" - a partly a cappella song originally made popular in Africa by Togo pop star Bella Bellow - kicks this collection of songs off to a misleading start. Piercing on the ears, it's an odd opening number on a collection by an artist whose extraordinary ability to bridge musical divides has set her on the very top of the "world" music pile. Luckily for Kidjo's fans, "Zelie" doesn't sound much like the rest of the album.

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