by Angélique KidjoAngélique Kidjo


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Angélique Kidjo was born in Cotonou, Benin, but like many modern African artists, she's gone her own way, using traditional music to forge her own personal hybrid of African, European, and American pop. On this album Kidjo pays tribute to the people who inspired her career, including her mother, Miriam Makeba, and American R&B artists like Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Otis Redding. And while the tunes Kidjo tackles may be familiar, her arrangements turn them inside out and shed new light on their African roots. "Cold Sweat" gets a take that salutes the Afro-beat of Fela Kuti, who used Brown's funk for his own music. The rhythm-heavy track swings like mad, with Kidjo's powerful vocal climbing the scale and weaving in and around the backbeat. She bases her version of "Mbube" (better known in the U.S. as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight") on the singing of Makeba, and uses the original Zulu lyrics. A simple acoustic guitar and percussion arrangement gives Kidjo room to show off her impressive range and emotional skill. Kidjo used to make up words to the American songs she couldn't understand, and sings Yoruba lyrics to Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember." Its Memphis-meets-Cotonou approach is intensified by the female backing vocalists and Kidjo's wailing high end. Bollywood tunes were also a big part of Kidjo's upbringing. On "Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka," a hit by Mohammed Rafi, Steve Gorn drops a flute solo that recalls a Zulu pennywhistle into a Congolese rhythm track. Kidjo's originals include "Kelele," a sprightly highlife tune, and "Afia," a re-Africanized samba written with Brazilian guitarist Vinicius Cantuaria.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/06/2010
Label: Razor & Tie
UPC: 0793018306225
catalogNumber: 83062
Rank: 59399

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Angélique Kidjo   Primary Artist
Roy Hargrove   Horn
Steve Gorn   Flute
Poogie Bell   Drums
Thandi Bhengu   Background Vocals
Christian McBride   Upright Bass
Dianne Reeves   Vocals
Alex Harding   Horn
Aaron Johnson   Horn
Cochemea Gastelum   Horn
Dominic Kanza   Guitar
Emma Kummrow   Violin
Igor Szwec   Violin
Mamadou Diabate   Kora
Stuart Bogie   Horn
Ian Hendrickson-Smith   Horn
Lionel Loueke   Guitar
Jordan McLean   Horn
Martin Perna   Horn
John Legend   Vocals
Kendrick Scott   Drums
Colette Alexander   Cello
Tsholofetso Mokubung   Background Vocals
Balla Kouyate   Balafon
Thiokho Diagne   Percussion
Davis Barnett   Viola
Clement Hlongwane   Background Vocals
James Cooper   Cello
Antibalas Horns   Horn
Tuelo Minah   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

James Brown   Composer
Curtis Mayfield   Composer
Otis Redding   Composer
Pee Wee Ellis   Composer
John Barry   Composer
Sidney Bechet   Composer
Russell Elevado   Engineer
Larry Gold   Engineer,String Arrangements
Jean Hébrail   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Angélique Kidjo   Composer,Producer
Mohammed Rafi   Composer
Ronnie Shannon   Composer
Carlos Santana   Composer
Vinicius Cantuaria   Composer
Mackay Davashe   Composer
Zelma Redding   Composer
Solomon Linda   Composer
Joe Rock   Composer
Bella Bellow   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Lionel Loueke   Arranger
Paul Ritter   Art Direction
Justin Gerrish   Engineer
Naima Herbail   Composer

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