OYO - Kidjo, Angelique
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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."