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Angelique Kidjo has been deemed "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine, and the moniker speaks accurately to the singular career and life she has forged. Like Miriam Makeba was before her, Kidjo is the continent's most internationally celebrated female musical exponent. And yet, the GRAMMY-winning artist has lived outside Africa for more than two decades. On her new album, Kidjo revisits the music that was instrumental in her artistic formation in Benin, the country whose communist dictatorship she fled in the early '80s. Although Oyo is primarily comprised of covers, the music is instantly recognizable as Kidjo's: The first thing one hears at the outset of the album is her breathtaking voice, long-sustaining the first word of "Zelie," a song written by Bella Bellow from Togo. There are various other African songs, including "Lakutshona Llanga," a lullaby made famous by Kidjo's hero, Miriam Makeba, and the Beninese traditional song "Atcha Houn." Many tracks reveal the prevalence of American soul and funk in the port city of Cotonou, where Kidjo grew up. She duets with John Legend and is joined by the horns of Antibalas on Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up," offers Yoruban interpretations of Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember" and Santana's "Samba Pa Ti," collaborates with Diane Reeves on the Aretha Franklin hit, "Baby I Love You," and also takes on James Brown's "Cold Sweat." Track Listing: Zelie / Samba Pa Ti / Move On Up / Lakutshona Llanga / I've Got Dreams To Remember / Kelele / Baby, I Love You / Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka / Petite Fleur / Afia / Cold Sweat / Out Of Africa / Mbube / Atcha Houn. Bonus tracks: You Can Count On Me / Agbalagba.
Top Customer Reviews
Pure, powerful, unaffected and expressive.
Her new album 'Oyo' finds her mixing up
the music of her African (Beninoise) roots
with classic soul and R&B energy.
On these sixteen vibrant tracks there is hardly a wrong
step. Her glowing inner-light burns brightly throughout.
Aretha Franklin's 'Baby I Love You', a richly layered duet
with Dianne Reeves is a brilliant example of Ms Kidjo's
ability to breathe new life into a great old warhorse.
So too with her take on Curtis Mayfield's 'Move On Up'
featuring John Legend. The rattling percussion and
effervescent backing vocals lift the song up onto a
whole new level. It's like hearing it for the first time.
The cabaret ambience of 'Petite Fleur' demonstrates her
innate capacity to effortlessly squeeze every drop of
meaning from a lyric with consummate vocal integrity.
The playful jazzy rhythms and melody of 'Mbube' are
absolutely delightful. The echoes of its western
manifestation 'Wimoweh - The Lion Sleeps Tonight'
brought a long-forgotten childhood musical experience
back into vivid memory.
If 'Kelele' doesn't get your toes tapping then I'm
not quite sure what would! The song is bursting
with warm sunshine and uplifting good vibes.
Final track 'Agbalagba' is a heartfelt rendition of
a song written as a tribute to the Nigerian author
Uwem Akpan's book 'Say You're One Of Them'.
Ms Kidjo's performance is both riveting and moving.
Co-produced with her longtime friend and collaborator
Jean Hebrail 'Oyo' is a landmark recording in this
fine artist's long and distinguished career.
So how does this record compare ? If anything, "Oyo" is even better than "Oyaya." This record largely consists of covers and represents a set of tunes that have mean't alot to AK when she was growing up as a young girl in Benin. Many of these tunes are immediately familiar, whether it is jazz saxophonist Sidney Bechet's "Petit Fleur" or James Brown's "Cold Sweet." There are no duff tracks on this CD and it includes some of her finest performances. The rendition of 60's soul classics "I've got dreams to remember" and "Baby I love you" (where she duets with the great Dianne Reeves) are refracted through an African sensibility, the words being translated into her native tongue and the band laying down an infectious rhythm. The same can be said of Curtis Mayfield's "Move on up" which will guarantee to have you turning the volume up on your record player. "Kelele" features the typical golden sound of the West African electric guitars and "Lokutshana Llanga" is a mash up of Indian and African music from a celebrated Bollywood film. Both of these are album highlights. For me, the stand out track, however, is the version of "Mbube", a tune that will be familiar to many under a variety of diferent titles such as "The lion sleeps tonight.Read more ›
Better late than never as the cliché goes and it certainly is better for me because this is a terrific album full of spirit , verve and empathy but done with a wide variety of styles incorporating soul ,jazz , traditional African music with little iridescent splashes of pop , gospel , and even a fizz of Bollywood.
There are cover of Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You", Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up" Santana's "Samba Pati.", Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams To Remember " and James Browns "Cold Sweat " all which are given a rich inventive interpretation . Produced by Angelique and Jean Hebrail, the album was arranged with the contribution of Beninese guitar player Lionel Loueke who provides the album with a plethora of spindly but twinkling arrangements and hot licks- just listen to "Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka" for proof .
There are guest spots for John Legend and Dianne Reeves but the real star of the show is of course Angelique Kidjo herself who has a wonderful voice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Angelique is the new love in my life. Her disc 'Eve' was great but 'Oyo' is phenominal. The tracks are an eclectic mix from ethnic through to modern jazz. Read morePublished on 3 July 2014 by Mr. Fred Gardener
Have always loved Angelique Kidjo's music and this is another brilliant album of her songs. Started by hearing Agolo and grew from there.Published on 10 Nov. 2013 by H. C. Davison
Fantastic album, saw Angelique Kidjo perform live in France, what a great voice. Came home and found her album on Amazon. Why do we not hear about her in Britain? Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2010 by SAB