Black Ivory Soul

Black Ivory Soul

by Angélique KidjoAngélique Kidjo


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Angelique Kidjo's records have brought her plenty of acclaim, but they've tended to be very mixed -- some tracks exceptional, others remarkably ordinary. Black Ivory Soul, her exploration of the connection between her native Benin and the Bahian region in the north east of Brazil, might just be her most consistent and satisfying effort to date. She's toned down the R&B influence that peppered 1998's Oremi -- indeed, only the title cut is R&B, and that has a sweet Brazilian inflection -- and focuses instead on the job at hand. Working with talents like Carlinhos Brown and Vinicius Cantaria has obviously helped; "Tumba," for example, fairly crackles with crisp axé rhythms that drive the song along, while"Ominira" and "Afrika" makes the distance between the two continents seem very small indeed. Kidjo gets rootsier here than she has in a long time, as on her version of Gilberto Gil's "Refavela," which offers an unvarnished look -- lyrically and musically -- at the ghetto, or the more introspective "Okanbale," where the rippling kora lines falling like water through the song. Kidjo uses her trademark lush harmonies throughout the album, and she's in great voice, even content to play second fiddle to Dave Matthews on "Iwoya," where the status of the guest star (and the English language vocal) seem like a calculated move to push one of the disc's weakest tracks straight to AAA airplay. But, happily, that's the exception, not the rule; on the whole this record's heart is in art, not commerce, even tossing in a spare, loving cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Ces Petits Riens" to close things out, although it's quite out of place on the record. This time around, Kidjo seems to have followed her muse, not the money, and the results are, virtually, everything she's always promised to do, but never quite achieved before.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/19/2002
Label: Sony
UPC: 0696998579927
catalogNumber: 85799
Rank: 58123

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Angélique Kidjo   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Bernie Worrell   Organ,fender rhodes
Karl Berger   Conductor
Dave Matthews   Vocals
Michel Alibo   Electric Bass
Ira Coleman   Acoustic Bass
Aiyb Dieng   African Percussion
Brenda White-King   Background Vocals
Curtis King   Background Vocals
Romero Lubambo   Guitar (Nylon String)
Abdou M'Boup   African Percussion
Cindy Mizelle   Background Vocals
Joao (Tombo) Mota   Electric Guitar
Vinicius Cantuaria   Acoustic Guitar
Dominic Kanza   Electric Guitar
?uestlove   Drums
Cheik Mbaye   African Percussion
Mamadou Diabate   Kora
Dennis Collins   Background Vocals
Julieanne Klopotic   Violin

Technical Credits

Karl Berger   String Arrangements
Bill Laswell   Producer,Mixing Translation
Dave Darlington   Engineer
Clark Germain   Engineer
Jean Hébrail   Arranger,Engineer
Angélique Kidjo   Arranger
Robert Musso   Engineer
Cyrille Taillandier   Engineer
Gary Montalvo   Art Direction

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