Entertainment, Film and Music

Angelique Kidjo Oyo ***** (music review)

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This is easily one of the most played CD's I have bought over the last few years. Since then, I have been fortunate to see her perform live.

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." Here, the band's fast and loose respect for bar lines is reminiscent of the kind of harmolodic grooves played by free jazz legend Ornette Coleman.

The more I listen to this record, the more I am convinced that this is the finest record I have heard by this brilliant singer. Easily one of one the best albums of 2010 so far.

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