Angelique Kidjo is a world music goddess. Oyaya! (which means “joy” in her native language Yoruba) is the third in a trilogy of albums that explore the world through her music. The first two offerings in this series, Oremi and Black Ivory Soul, explored African roots in American and in Brazilian music, respectively. With her third installment, Kidjo explores those same roots in Latin music. Taking meringue, salsa and ska, just to name a few, she mixes every style of Latin music and layers them with her soulful yet commanding alto voice. Think Toni Braxton with a lot less R&B and a lot more talent.
Kidjo has collaborated with many high-profile artists throughout her career, including Dave Matthews, Los Lobos, Los Super Seven and The String Cheese Incident. So why is she not insanely popular here in the states?
Because she does not make disposable pop music. That, and most of her songs are in a foreign language. Oyaya! is in French and the African languages Yoruba and Fon. Angelique Kidjo has worked with some wonderful artists and has slowly gathered a fan base that spans the world. She is surely one of the best vocalists in the world. We in the United States just haven’t caught on.
So here is my challenge: Listen to Kidjo’s latest album (or any of her albums for that matter) and open your mind to a legendary world vocalist, someone who is worthy of your attention and respect. I guarantee it will be hard to resist Kidjo’s confidence, voice and utterly gorgeous music.
Angelique Kidjo: www.angeliquekidjo.com